Whether you have a chronic illness or not, life requires planning. Without it, all we are doing is sitting on our thumbs waiting for life to happen.
While spontaneity can be fun, it won’t help you succeed.
Speaking of succeeding, did you know that planning can help you succeed in your personal and professional life, even if you have a chronic illness like fibromyalgia or psoriatic arthritis.
To help you succeed, here are two very important things you must know about planning.
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Number One: Planning can make you more reliable
This is a biggie for those of us diagnosed with a chronic disease. Autoimmune diseases and other unpredictable illnesses are monsters that have the capability of turning the most reliable person into a complete flake.
Before becoming chronically ill, I rarely canceled anything I committed to. That all changed after my third chronic diagnosis.
One of the reasons I became the cancellation queen was because I was filling my calendar the way I did before becoming sick.
Another reason is that I just said yes to everything without considering if I would have enough time or energy to actually follow through.
I resolved this issue with careful planning.
It took many years of trial and error, mainly because I still had to come to terms with the fact that living with multiple chronic illnesses would never be the same as the life I had before, but I was able to plan with my symptoms and pain in mind.
For example, after living with my illnesses for as long as I had, I knew approximately how much time I needed to recover after a big outing. I also knew that planning anything too close to that event would not end well.
So to ensure that I could attend, well as much as I could as we all know that most autoimmune diseases, chronic illnesses, and cancers can have a mind of their own, I blocked out a few days (more if I wasn’t feeling as well as I’d prefer) before the event and then anywhere from 2-7 days following the event to recover. By doing this, I was able to plan smarter and could even explain to someone why I was declining their invite.
Number Two: Plans change!
Yep, that’s right, our health status and pain levels aren’t the only things that can change without warning, our plans can too. With that in mind, I always make plans that include backup plans!
I began this practice after I started blocking out dates on my calendar because I became frustrated that my plans went up in smoke after I took the time to rest beforehand.
Sometimes my backup plans are actual plans. For example, if dinner plans with friends didn’t pan out, I have plans to still go out either by myself, with my husband or children, or someone from the original plans if anyone is still available.
By allowing enough time to prepare my body for an outing and to recover from one, I also free myself to be a bit more flexible. If something comes up I still have room in my schedule to shift the day that I was going to go out forward or backward a day or two.
The best part of seeing my schedule on paper is that afterward, I am able to see how much I was able to do in the past month. This helps with future planning. Then, of course, there is that exciting moment when you discover that all the time you spent planning and listening to your body results in being able to do more than you expected!