Time Management

3 Time-Budgeting Tactics to Add Hours to Your Day
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Caregivers have no shortage of things to do each day. How do you get it all done -- without burning the candle at both ends, so that you sacrifice sleep? You need a battle plan.

Here are some tips from time-management experts that work well for caregivers:

Keep a central calendar. Instead of keeping track of different people's needs in different places, write everything down in one place. Whether you use an online calendar or one stuck to the refrigerator door, having everyone's appointments and events on the same calendar keeps you all "on the same page." Color-code each person's activities with different pens (or online tools) for at-a-glance simplicity.

Tackle tough to-do's first. Don't cross off tasks willy-nilly as you get to them. To be more effective and get more done, tackle the toughest job first. Not only will you have a huge thing out of the way, but you'll save the mental energy that risks being drained all day as you dread the tough task.

Find your "magic hours" when you're most productive. For most people, that's first thing in the morning, though others are natural night owls. Use this time to schedule your most important tasks, whether it's a tricky insurance phone call or a loved one's doctor appointment. Note that your loved one has magic hours too, when he or she feels best, and use them for tough caregiving tasks (like bathing) or outings such as doctor visits.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio