As part owner of a travel agency, David enjoys scuba diving and traveling around the world. He also owns his own business that creates unique beverages. David believes his optimistic attitude helps keep him in control of his own life with relapsing MS.
It’s funny how life works. Just when you think you have it all figured out things change and you get the opportunity to manage a new set of circumstances. I think that’s what makes life interesting. If nothing ever changed and you could plan everything perfectly there would be no real art in time management… and life would be pretty boring.
For example, I have a degree in Zoology which I had intended to be a stepping stone for a career in medicine. But when I decided not to enter Medical School, I carefully managed my time and resources so that I could put my degree to use in a meaningful way – and fast. At our house, if you intended to live at home after you reached eighteen years old, you either went to school or you worked!
When I was diagnosed with relapsing MS I spent a lot of time trying to find the blessings in having MS. I have discovered many and sometimes they hide in strange places. One of those is my ability to find humor in everyday life, which is one of the ways I make my days brighter, happier, and more enriching. This carries over to how I manage my time, which sometimes can be overwhelming, so I make it fun.
How do I do this? Simple, I do the fun things first and prioritize the rest! My theory is that if I start off with the fun “stuff” I make the remainder more bearable and enjoyable. I try to plan my week on Sunday by writing down what I’ll do each day: go to the grocery store on Monday, wash clothes on Tuesday, go to the doctor on Wednesday, etc. Of course, I know this is ALWAYS subject to change. I agree with myself ahead of time that I will not be angry or disappointed if I have to make changes during the week – I will do my best.
Once I have the week “sort of” planned, I put each day on a sticky note and add the day’s main tasks and the smaller ones. I plan the day’s order, making sure the fun tasks come first. Depending on my health and wellness for that week I can change the days and times just by mixing and matching sticky notes.
Another time management tool I use is to have flexible get together dates with my friends. For example, we have open invitations for dinner on Monday, Thursday or Saturday, whichever works best. Then we text each other until one of those dates work for both of us. When they don’t, we move the dates to the next week and start over. The key is to make the dates flexible for both parties. It works.
Finally, I always say “yes” to a task before I decide how to manage it. This keeps me open to completing more tasks when I feel I’m able to. It’s real easy to automatically think and say no to parties, get-togethers and errands. It’s more thoughtful and useful to think “yes,” consider the actual event and your willingness and ability to complete it, and THEN make the decision. I know it sounds crazy, but for me it gently pushes me to seriously consider what I will do, when I will do it, and how it affects my quality of life. I have been called many things through the years but no one has ever questioned my time management, even though my methods are crazy and funny – they work for me.
Check back on January 26th for David’s next journal entry.