When you are in chronic pain or chronically ill, you can manage better if you are organized and goal oriented. I like to practice something I learned called Time Blocking. We typically practice this in project management without knowing that there is a name for it. We have to get things done daily and Time Blocking lets us focus on doing one task at a time and letting the rest go. As patients trying to cope with everything while the health problems are eating most of our energy. Sometimes I find that gradually things have just gotten out of control because of too many down days. There is so much to catch up on, bills, dishes, laundry, things that need to be mended and I would not know where to start. I would end up feeling awful about the mess and being hard on myself for not doing anything about it. So I started to time block consciously. The concept is simplistic but helps me a lot. I hope you try it out. You may find it will change the way you live in a productive way.

How do you Time Block?
• Plan an amount of time, (5, 10, 20, 30 60 minutes)… a "time block", for a specific activity,
o The time block should be short. From 5 minutes for simple activities such as phone calls to a maximum of 2 hours for doctor visits.
o Only focus on doing that one thing, do as much as you can, and stop when you have reached the end of the time block.
• Start with writing a list of what need to be done
o Group things together
o Things you can do on your own
o Things you need more information to do
• How are you going to get the information
o Things you need help with
o Things you can do from home
o Things you need to go somewhere to do
• Prioritize
o What is the most important thing on your list?
o Always put your own basic physical needs first
• Look at your day, and fit in a 30-60 minute block of time to get started on doing the stuff on your list
o I know it's tempting to be ambitious, but trust me, if you focus for 30 minutes on doing just one thing, you will really get somewhere and it will feel great!
• The hard part comes when your time block is over
• Stop what you are doing even if you are not all the way done
• You can put in another time block later in the day or even tomorrow
• When you are in pain and chronically ill, there is no need to aggravate your body and it is ok if some things just are not done.
• When you finish your time block for the day, you can pat yourself on the back. It always puts a big smile on my face and I feel like I at least accomplished what I could without wasting energy or time.

Author's Bio: 

Ms. Ingle is a Chronic Pain Educator for the Power of Pain Foundation, guest speaker for The American Pain Foundation’s Power Over Pain Campaign since 2007 and National Motivational speaker. She has been a pain patient since 2002 and began mentoring other patients through The RSDHope Organization in 2006.

Prior to her auto accident causing chronic pain and subsequent surgeries, Barby was a business owner, event coordinator and head coach at Washington State University for the entire spirit program. Barby has managed a staff of 40 employees and over 50 team members/volunteers. She performed administrative and legal tasks pertinent to managing a small business. Head trainer for all instructional and judging staff. She created and choreographed original program material. Educated and certified all cheer and dance coaches in the state of Washington running up to 25 conferences a year. Barby prepared speeches, tests, manuals and performed presentations.

Barby had been speaking at charity events, awards ceremonies, special groups and all kinds of public venues for 17 years as part of her job as a Collegiate Head Coach, business owner and now as a patient advocate. She graduated from the George Mason University in 1994 with a degree in Social Psychology. Ms. Ingle uses her skills from Cheerleading to inspire and motivate patients to be self advocates and offers tips and tools for patients, caretakers and healthcare professionals. Honors include 2003 who’s who of U.S. Cheerleading coach’s honoree, 2004 Cheer LTD. Coach of the year nominee, Teams ranked nationally in the top 10, coached at the Sun Bowl and two Rose Bowls. Barby has also served as a National speaker, Author of the Cheertec Coaches' Handbook; six part DVD Series on aspects of cheerleading, RSD in Me! A Patient And Caregivers Guide To Dealing With RSD And Other Chronic Pain Conditions. She is also a contributor to Cheerleader! An American Icon and CO-Arthur of The Wisdom of Ingle.