There’s been (is) a discussion going on in the forum of Sustainably Creative about scheduling and pacing and the like. Those of us with chronic illness are trying to figure out how our limited energy works and how to make the best of the little we have.
Alison has been scheduling her day, including rest periods, and I’ve been thinking about the times of the day when my energy is at its most fragile and when the best time is to do various things. I bought a Dodo pad
last year and tried labelling each section with things like;
Self Care, Creative, Reality, Exercise.
…and it worked for a little while. I also tried an adapted version (which revealed encouraging messages as each post it was removed) of something like this,
to put on the fridge, which worked ok apart from the fact that I put too much on it. Yes, even after seven years I still don’t know (accept?) my energy limits. What I’m currently trialing is this,
I either plan the things I’m going to try to do each day, or record what I actually did. (Sometimes a combo) So that I can remember what day I had a bath…or whatever. Bath days don’t include much else because they use up all my spoons. Which is a shame because they help with the pain.
I found a yearly planner that fits onto A4 here, and I’ve tweaked it a bit so that I can try this idea. (Some productivity advice from Jerry Seinfeld, which works just as well as a method for developing/creating a habit.)
I think it fits the needs of a ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ calendar perfectly, but if you want a more traditional look, how about this alternative,
I hope that one (or more) of these planners helps you, let me know if you have any ideas for edits or alternate ways of using them. Thanks.
PS- Here’s yet another weekly planner sheet…with some decoration
This site has masses of planners and productivity ideas for creatives, and most of them are free to download. (I’ve also started a Pinboard on Pinterest for downloadable printables.)
There have been a lot of shared posts recently about things to stop doing. Here are 30 things to stop! Here are things for fibro folks to stop doing. Well I prefer to try to narrow things down into a more manageable and positive form so here goes;
Goals – 12 things to learn to do.
1 – Let go of unhealthy relationships.
Spend time and surround yourself with radiators rather than drainers. Be with people/friends who support and lift your spirits, and accept you for who you are.
2 – Stop worrying and just deal with it.
Will the thing you’re worrying about matter in Five years time? Ten years? Is it something you have control over? Do as much as you’re able to about whatever it is, then put it into a box/worry doll or whatever works for you, and try to let go of it.
3 – Value yourself, your needs matter too.
People place the value on you that you place on yourself. You’re unique. You matter, and so do your needs – just as much as anyone else’s.
4 – Accept and be true to yourself.
You are the sum of your life’s experiences. You are where you are supposed to be. Accept this and try to learn from it. Remember the serenity prayer. Also remember that its impossible to be all things to all people, you can only do your best and its just not possible to please everyone. Nor does perfection exist.
5 – Let go of the past.
Is there anything useful to be gained from going over and over things that have happened in the past? If so – list them and try to turn the list into actionable/helpful items. Work your way through the list bit by bit and try to let go of the habit of action replays/reruns about those things. If there’s nothing to be gained/learned by reliving the past – write it all down, then burn it. (Works for me…most if the time…when I remember to do it.)
6 – Learn how to be happy.
Yes I know, it isn’t that easy, if only it were… Also – if you’ve been feeling sad for any length if time for no particular reason, please go and talk to your doctor as well as people you trust. I wish I’d realised decades ago it was a chemical imbalance making things worse for me. There are things that happy people have in common though so read what you can about happiness, positive thinking, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) etc. The Brainpickings blog has a good round up of books about happiness here. Monitor your thoughts, without judging, and do what you can to replace negative, unkind thoughts with positive ones and self praise.
7 – Practice gratitude every day, notice beauty.
Im going to be posting a download for this one, to help us. It’ll be a little book to print and make, where you can note down your grateful thoughts for a week.
8 – Accept theres no such thing as perfection.
Really there isn’t. I know its easy to look at others and think “Gee I wish my life/job/art/health was as great as theirs.” (Well I’ve found it easy. I’m not the only one am i?!) But the truth is, non of us knows what anyone else’s life is truly like. We’ve all had, and have, horrible stuff to deal with, and appearances can be deceptive. The grass often seems greener, but sometimes it’s astro turf…
9 – Be honest, with yourself and others.
I’ve found that a big part of this is learning to say no, and knowing when to ask for help. This is a big one I know, and my mind is currently awash with stuff that Brené Brown has written about this subject. Watch her TED talks and read her books.
10 – Narrow your focus.
We cant be all things to all people and we cant fix EVERYTHING all at once. So prioritise and take things step by small step, knowing that you’ll get there in the end. Stephanie Levy touched on this in her Wild Courage course. Take a peek at this.
11 – Focus on the positive (outcomes and thoughts).
See number 6…and 7…and 10! Positivity is a habit, and you have to do something regularly for it to become a habit. Again, there are lots of helpful books and blogs that help with this. Leo Babauta’s ’Zen Habits’ blog is a good place to start.
12 – Be proactive, take control.
Another one that contains aspects from the points above. I think a large part of this one is that thorny issue of knowing when to ask for help. It’s also about narrowing your focus, not being distracted by stuff that doesnt really matter, getting out of the habit of reacting to events and wrestling back control where you can. (Not always possible I know.)
Yes – these are all major issues that take years of working on, but I find that narrowing my focus helps me to find a place to begin. I’m currently doing Brené Brown’s eCourse, which is a sort of guided read of her book ’The gifts of imperfection.’ with an art journalling twist. I’ll let you know how it went at the end of the course. (It runs again in January 2014.)
Here are the 12 in visual form.
I’ve put together a PDF with this, some blanks for you to print out and write your own on and three larger blanks to write individual targets on and stick up around the house as visual reminders. Click the image or here to download. Its a 10.4MB file, so depending on your connection may take a little while to download.
My guide to printing PDF’s is here.
Let me know if any of this was useful. If it was – please share with anyone you think is might help, thanks.
As usual – these images etc are for personal use only. You may not re-post or sell them, even if you change them in any way. To do so would be stealing and stealing is bad karma, so please don’t do it.
Here are a couple of photos taken on the site where my static caravan ‘lives’ to give you an idea of where I was during June and October this year. All it needs to make it perfect is a housekeeper…and a chauffeur.
Inspired by the monthly drawing prompt on the Nourish Creativity blog. Click the image below to go to the high resolution version, then right click and save. The artwork is a painted etching based upon a life drawing study, done during my honours degree.
The universe clearly knew that I needed cheering up, because this arrived today;
So glad it’s finally been finished/published, a perfect antidote for the SAD mood dips.
Allie has an ongoing battle with depression and her blog does an excellent job of helping readers to understand mental illness.
It’s pretty damn awesome to see her work in print and will hopefully broaden her audience.
Her pain scale is also brilliant…(it’s how I first discovered her blog.)
See the blog post to read more