At the end of the day I haven’t got the important stuff done
Sometimes planning and organising daily life can become problematic. People with MS have reported difficulty with “problems making decisions and working things out”, or “I’m not coping properly with work/children’s schedules”. You can feel busy all day or even all week, but still not seem to have got the important things done. Being aware of urgent tasks and managing priorities are necessary for your relationships and also managing your health optimally. Scheduling and planning in advance isn’t the most exciting way to spend your time, but they are easy ways to solve this problem for many people with MS.
Tips and Tricks
- If you find it hard to stay on task, you can manage distractions by finding a quiet environment and letting others know when you can and can’t be disturbed.
- Organisation and planning can be supported by written plans and schedules. Instead of just relying on your internal scheduling, you will probably find that a written plan or schedule will be helpful. It helps in two ways, once by thinking about something in advance and overtly considering what is required and how it can be done. Secondly, by providing a written guide to getting the task done.
- Breaking a task down into sections can also be helpful, in a written schedule. For example, “pack suitcase” in your diary the night before going on holiday may be enough, but if not, you may need to list the items you want to take and schedule in your diary times to shop for extra items (e.g. sun cream) and launder the clothes you need to pack.
- Decisions can be hard to take, particularly important ones (e.g. decisions relating to treatment). You might find it helpful to talk through the options and outcomes with a family member, friend, or health professional. You may want to ask them to write out the options and implications. If you are writing out the options yourself to help you think about the issues, you might want to list pros and cons under each option, so that you can fully consider the risks and benefits of each course of action. Be willing to ask for time to think through decisions and discuss them with other people. Be willing to ask for more information or repeated information.
- If you find yourself stuck in a rut and trying the same old behaviours or strategies without success for a problem, it may be time to get help exploring new options. Just because something is hard or unsuccessful with your current approach doesn’t mean that success isn’t possible. Enlist the help of family, friends or professionals to generate options. Be open to different approaches and ideas. Consciously try to be flexible in your outlook.
Can you help us improve our cognition resources for people with MS?
We are currently reviewing StayingSmart and will be holding focus groups to discuss how you may have used the resource and which tools or approaches you find useful for managing cognitive issues.
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