When your child has cancer, life becomes a whirlwind. And if you’re also caring for other kids, it can be a bit overwhelming.
Finding ways to stay organized can create free time, which can help you feel more relaxed, get in touch with your feelings, and have a better relationship with all of your children. It also can help you think and process information more clearly—something that will benefit your entire family in the days ahead.
Here are 5 ways to get organized and save time, even if it’s just 10 precious minutes to meditate or take a catnap.
1. Organize Your “Stuff”—Now.
Whether you can’t find your shoes, your keys, or the papers to take to your child’s doctor appointment, household clutter can stress you out. Don’t let clutter pile up. Organize as you go to cut down on stress and avoid turning organization into a full-day project later on.
2. Download Apps To Help You Get Organized.
Children with cancer have a lot of appointments. It can be hard to keep track of them all and remember what you need to bring to each one. And it can be even harder when you have other kids.
If you’re always on a smartphone, one of the easiest ways to get organized is through a medical information management app.
There are plenty of apps that let you store details for each family member—like appointment reminders, doctor contact information, medical records, test results, etc. With everything in one place, you won’t need to spend as much time getting ready for appointments.
Check out app stores for apps like these:
3. Save Time By Sleeping.
Exhaustion and disrupted sleep are common in caregivers, says the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA). The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, but the FCA reports that many caregivers don’t get the amount they need.
This is understandable: Caregivers have a lot to do, so sleep might seem like the first thing to cut. But getting enough sleep can actually save you time in the long run.
Regular lack of sleep can lead to low productivity, says the NSF. This means that even if you’re awake for more hours during the day, you might actually get less accomplished.
On the other hand, the NSF says, getting enough sleep:
- Boosts productivity
- Improves your mood
- Strengthens your health and immune system
All of these can help you get things done more quickly, which will save time in the long run.
4. Sit Down And Schedule.
Sleep deprivation isn’t the only common sleep problem in caregivers. They also have higher rates of insomnia than other people, according to a June 2011 article in American Family Physician.
The NSF says insomnia often comes from having to multitask and handle busy schedules. If your child has cancer, you’re probably not a stranger to having too much to do. This can lead to sleepless nights, where you lie awake worrying and making to-do lists in your head.
You can limit your insomnia by making a schedule—during the day, not when you’re trying to fall asleep. Create a detailed plan, and write down your to-do list instead of trying to remember it. Maintaining this kind of organization can keep you less frazzled at night, so that you can rest up.
5. Make Sure That Schedule Includes Time For Yourself.
All of these steps will save you time, but there’s one last step to getting your free time: scheduling it.
If you think, “I’ll just grab some ‘me’ time here or there between appointments when I get a moment,” think again. Something will always come up to prevent that from happening.
Instead, actually schedule personal breaks—even if they’re only for a few minutes. If a break is printed on your schedule, it might feel more like something you have to accomplish and not just a luxury you feel guilty about doing.
Free time is everything when you’re stressed. Just 10 minutes to relax on the couch can seem like a lifesaver. In the long run, taking the time to get organized—both physically and mentally—will give you that free time your body and mind really need, therefore benefitting your entire family.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.