3 Helpful Hints to Use the Energy You Have to Stay Organized
By: Suzanne Holsomback
“I used to be really organized.”
“I should be able to get organized.”
Sound familiar? How often do you hear or think the “used to be able to” or “should be able to” statements?
Being diagnosed with cancer, walking through treatments/surgeries/doctor appointments/labs, and surviving cancer takes a toll on your energy levels. Everything in your life affects energy levels – family and doctors alike – and that is totally normal.
I’m a professional organizer and I work with clients that have various diagnoses – from breast cancer survivors to individuals with rheumatoid arthritis to caregivers. And each one highlights a dramatic change in energy levels as one of the greatest frustration they face, especially around having little energy in regards to staying organized.
With a change in energy, patterns of life change too and that isn’t always a bad thing – it is just different. It is likely not forever, so embracing a few lifestyle changes that help maximize the energy you have and stay organized is a must.
What follows are my top three tips for using the energy you have to stay organized:
EMBRACE THE “NO”
“No.” You need to empower yourself with this one little word.
This is usually one of the hardest things to comprehend or accept. There is an idea that you can’t do what you used to do, but I don’t see a reduction in energy as reducing your quality of life.
I see changing energy levels as an opportunity to invest more fully in fewer things.
There are so many fun and exciting things to do or even things you think you need to do, but in reality most people are over extended and are disorganized because they are involved in too much and cannot give each commitment the attention it needs.
My advice: scale back for a little while, say “no” to a few commitments you have now and a few that come your way, and free yourself from the guilt of “when I used to be able to do all of it.”
With less on your plate, you can really enjoy what you are doing now and not be stressed about where you are headed or what you need to do in thirty minutes. You can be fully present.
For the tasks that you must do and cannot say “no,” think about delegating. What household maintenance tasks can a spouse or older child do? This might be a great time to teach your teenager laundry skills, how to meal plan, or cook. You can also implement a household maintenance hour in which every family member does something toward the betterment of the home – one person cooks, another does laundry, another picks up the playroom, another walks the dog, etc.
There are also ways to delegate in your work. You might be on medical leave now, but when you return think about utilizing carpools to reduce the stress of transportation. You might also need to delegate some of the smaller tasks in your role to other team members until your energy is better. Again, remember it might not be forever, but it is for right now – so take care of your self!
Also, it is okay to hire someone to perform some tasks that you just don’t have energy to do. I had a client who was diagnosed with lupus and was frazzled by laundry. A neighbor wisely told her to put down the iron, take those clothes to a dry cleaner, and save her energy for the important things in life. And she did and hasn’t looked back.
And by “give grace” I mean to give it to your self. Give yourself grace to be a woman in a transition or a man fighting for his life or a parent who has survived their child’s cancer journey.
It is okay to not have it all together. Few people really do. You can be organized, you can have all the cool tools and apps, and look like you have it all together, but feel like you are unraveling – and that is okay.
Give yourself grace. Give yourself time to take care of yourself. To make sure you have time to rest, to heal, to recharge, to just do nothing, to plan, to work, to play, to feel alive.
Give yourself the grace of extra time, to say “no,” to delegate, to allow things to crystallize and everything else to fall away. It is okay. You are worth it.
—Suzanne is a holistic, professional organizer who provides restful and organized homes for caregivers and individuals with health concerns, so they can have time to focus on the important things in life.
She grew up in Baytown, Texas and now resides in Austin. She attended Baylor University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Classics, then pursued a Master of Divinity degree at George W. Truett Theological Seminary. In 2010, she left the USA to read for a Master of Philosophy in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. While in England, she picked up an amazing souvenir that just wouldn’t fit in her hand luggage – they were married in the autumn of 2014.
In early 2014, she launched Suzanne Holsomback, LLC. You can reach Suzanne via her website www.suzanneholsomback.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.