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Caregiving is a stressful job. And caregivers of children and adults with autism, special needs or to elderly adults that have conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are often stressed and are at the risk of burnout if they are not able to manage their stress. And one major thing that caregivers can do in order to significantly reduce the risk of burnout is by managing their time.
Many caregivers who are told that they need to manage their time better are unsure of where to start. It is actually quite simple which is why the 7 easy ways for caregivers to improve time management is going to be listed below:
1. Scheduling ‘Me’ Time Is Critical
A caregiver that does not have any time for him or herself will be at risk for burnout. And when burnout occurs, the caregiver and care recipient are both at risk The caregiver is likely to snap and will neglect the care recipient’s needs. This is why it is critical for caregivers to carve out time to replenish themselves so their own needs are met.
This means that caregivers need to arrange with respite workers to take on the care for the care recipient so the caregiver can have their much-needed ‘me’ time. The caregiver can go to their local Starbucks to enjoy a coffee or to the local bookstore to read a book that has nothing to do with caregiving and everything to do with their interests. They can take a walk in the woods on their own. This way, they can recharge and be ready to take on the caregiving job after doing so.
You know the saying that you cannot pour from an empty cup. if caregivers don’t schedule in their ‘me’ time, then their cups will be quite empty.
2. Prioritize Responsibilities
Caregivers can easily become overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities they have. However, not all of their responsibilities can be tackled in one day. In fact, a fraction of what they need to do only needs to be accomplished in one day and that is what they need to focus on.
What caregivers need to do is focus on 3 important things they must do in a day, and leave the others for another day. They can either make a list to prioritize their responsibilities or they can use apps which they can use on their smart devices that are designed for task management.
3. Delegate Responsibilities And Errands
Caregivers that are the only ones caring for their children or adults with special needs without getting the help of others have a lot on their plates and they cannot simply do everything. This is why it is important for them to delegate errands and responsibilities to others where they can. If they cannot go grocery shopping, then they can order groceries online to have it delivered. They will also need to hire drivers to take the care recipients to appointments or adult daycare if they are not able to go and if they do not need to be with them.
Besides time away from the care recipient while he or she is at the adult daycare can give the caregiver a chance to take care of his or her own personal responsibilities such as paying bills and making some phone calls.
4. Be Realistic About Expectations
Caregivers can easily get ahead of themselves by thinking they can tackle all of their responsibilities at once or in any given timeframe. The reality is that they can only do so much. For instance, if they want to have the house cleaned or cook healthy meals, they may not be able to achieve that on their own.
Caregivers often have to face unpredictable issues that come with their care recipients such as them having to spend more time than they had anticipated bathing them after they had a major bathroom accident. Or they may have to take extra time to calm them down after having a serious meltdown. That will not leave the caregiver with time to get the house cleaned or to cook.
Sometimes dinner will mean another takeout meal and caregivers need to be easy on themselves for not being able to do what they had intended to do in a day. Acknowledging limitations is important.
5. Plan Ahead When It Comes To Making Appointments
Caregiving consists of having to make appointments with therapists and doctors for the care recipient. What needs to be done is to plan ahead when making an appointment by making sure there are no other major commitments that have to be made at the time. For instance, if you had scheduled to have the respite worker care for the care recipient so you could get your much needed ‘me time’, you will not want to set the appointment during that exact time. In other words, bring your scheduling book when you are making appointments.
6. Procrastination Is Not Your Friend
Do not put any tasks off that you can do. That will only create more stress and lead to burn out if you keep procrastinating. Instead, as it was discussed before, prioritize what you need to accomplish and plan ahead tasks that can be done at another time.
7. Stay Organized And Remove Clutter
Clutter is extremely distracting and can increase stress levels in caregivers. The best thing to do is to square time out to declutter and to organize the home. If you are unable to do it yourself, you can hire professional organizers to help with that. Keeping the environment as clutter-free as possible will help you manage your time and life better!
Caregiving is extremely demanding and this is why it is essential to utilize these time management skills so you can improve your time. When you are doing well with managing time, you will find that you can get so much more accomplished as a caregiver and keep stress levels to a minimum.