Bad time management can increase stress and frustration. According to research in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, “stress is a well-known risk factor in the development of addiction and addiction relapse vulnerability.” Part of relapse prevention includes anticipating possible issues and finding solutions. If you know that time management is an issue for you, then that is something you can make plans to address.
Continuing care usually involves attending regular support group meetings, individual therapy, and medical appointments, making time management vital. Routinely missing meetings or being late to your treatment appointments can be destabilizing. In addition, the chronic stress caused by regularly running late or falling behind on necessary tasks can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. All three of those are risk factors for relapsing, especially in the months directly after completing treatment at a facility like White House Recovery and Detox. To lower the risk of relapse, you can develop a solid plan for overcoming challenges related to time management.
5 Tips to Keep You on Time
Accountability is essential to recovery, and that extends beyond being self-accountable for your continued sobriety. Attending therapy, medical appointments, and support group meetings regularly and on time will increase your sense of well-being and improve self-efficacy. Below are five tips for developing better time management skills. For many people, it takes more than one method to stay on track. You can try them and see which one fits best with your lifestyle and preferences.
#1. Make a Plan the Day Before
Not everyone enjoys scheduling out their whole month ahead of time, but creating a plan in advance can give you extra time to make changes if something else comes up. By planning out what you need to get done the day before, you will have time to notice any conflicting appointments or unexpected gaps in your schedule. Several common ways to prepare for tasks the next day include:
- Writing down a basic list of tasks such as household chores, meetings, or events
- Making an hourly schedule with details
- Setting up calendar or alarm reminders on your phone or smart device
#2. Stick to a Schedule
Schedules are not for everyone, but some people find it incredibly helpful to visualize their day. You may have become familiar with having a routine during inpatient or outpatient therapy, and continuing that healthy habit can keep you on track. A few examples of how you can schedule or prioritize your days include:
- Write down each step of a specific task to make it easier to visualize how long it will take to complete
- Write down a full list of all your daily tasks, including a timestamp of when you want to begin and end them
- Create a chart or use a tracker app to visually see how much time each task takes up on a calendar day
#3. Find Ways to Motivate Yourself
Motivation can make it easier to make fundamental lifestyle changes like creating a new schedule. You can look for ways to motivate yourself by finding things that will reward you when you complete specific tasks. Motivation for time management can include:
- Better quality of output at work or school
- More time for enjoyable activities and self-care
- More time to spend with your family and pets
- Lower stress levels
- A reward in the form of a movie, meal, or event
#4. Use Technology to Stay on Time
You can find dozens of free apps and hundreds of paid ones designed to help you manage your time and stay on schedule. Some apps are straightforward and have a basic alarm or reminder function, while others are detailed and offer incentives to keep you on task. Most phones come with a calendar app, which has many features like alarms and reminders. You can also download apps specific to certain tasks, like healthy eating, exercise, and 12-Step recovery.
#5. Use Coping Skills to Decrease Stress
Stress can sometimes cause you to overthink and add more pressure on yourself than is strictly necessary. You might find yourself stressing so much that you end up being late, which then increases your anxiety about future meetings. A few ways you can lower stress include:
- Spending some time alone
- Speaking with loved ones
- Spending time in nature
Do the Hard Work and Stick With It
One of the most challenging parts of any lifestyle change is sticking with it even when progress feels slow. Time management involves a lot of factors, some outside your control. However, there are things you can do to improve your ability to complete things on time. Every day that you put in the hard work solidifies your new routines and behaviors. Choosing to adopt a healthier lifestyle means putting in the effort and actively working to improve yourself. Now you have the tools necessary to begin making positive changes.
Being behind schedule can be stressful and cause an increase in anxiety and depression symptoms for some people. If you feel that you are constantly scrambling to complete things on time or feel that you have no control over the direction of your day, then you may benefit from using various time management techniques. Time management can also improve your self-confidence and self-efficacy. You can alter your routines and behaviors to encourage better self-awareness and self-control when it comes to being on time to scheduled events or completing necessary tasks. At White House Recovery and Detox, we offer programs that teach essential skill development, including time management, to help you stay on track with your continuing recovery. Being on time for your therapy and other medical appointments is crucial to ensure you do not relapse or fall back into old habits. Find out more about our facility and the services we offer by contacting us today at (800) 510-5393.