Recovery Time Management – Am I Really THAT Busy?

My young friend Ellie asked me if I was still going to help people get sober. She said my new blog format was so professional looking, she thought I was getting out of the booze-busting business.  Actually she didn’t use the term “booze-busting”. She did remind me that I made a difference in her dad’s sobriety. She hoped I was still going to be a sober coach. And then she said, “I know how busy you are.” I got an email from my hiking buddy Ross, and he asked if I was available to go to the Blandford Nature Center last week. With the caveat that he knew, “I had been busy”.

Time is on my side?

I think I must be really bad at time management, because people tell me they think I am “so busy” all the time. And I am busy, but it’s not like I run Google or have six children or even have a hobby like dog training… I don’t even have a dog anymore. But I wonder whether I somehow use the “busy card” as a means of getting out of connecting with other humans. Because I am nothing if not a loner… Or else I am procrastinating. Because I am nothing if not a pleasure seeker and some of the tasks I have to do are difficult…

And then I thought, “Wait a minute. Maybe this situation is somehow connected with my recovery and my previous white wine fix… Maybe I want to seem occupied because I languished for so long…”

In a Smart Recovery article called Addiction Recovery and Procrastination Habits, they say, “This complex, automatic, problem habit typically coexists with other negative states, such as anxiety, depression, impulse control challenges, organizational challenges, distractibility, substance abuse, self-doubts, perfectionism, indecisiveness, and other.” (Who writes for these people?”) But you get the drift: organizational challenges go hand in hand with all the other challenges that face those of us with substance use disorders.

Dangers of Poor Time Management

  • Stress
  • The feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Burnout/exhaustion
  • Lack of accomplishment
  • Lack of success
  • Anger (the ugly sister of stress)

None of the above feelings are good for your (or my) recovery. I have actually sat in bed on a Saturday, with the entire day stretching before me, and been stressed. The options are too boundless. Do I jog around Reeds Lake? Make a healthy breakfast? Write a blog post? Call my kids? Go to a quiet office? Read a book? Shit or go blind? My solution to quelling the feeling of being overwhelmed, has been to get up earlier. And earlier. There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

Time Management

There are a lot of articles written about recovery and time management. Most of them involve making pie charts. Something I have no intention of doing. I do want to create free time, however, and I do recognize the creeping stressors of a working life. So this is what I want to do:

  • Increase efficiency
  • Have some conscious control over the time I spend on specific activities
  • Make time for developing new interests
  • Increase my energy level
  • Stop seeming too swamped to talk on the phone or go for a walk in the park…

Do the Hard Things First, Make a List…

According to the experts, I am not the only person in recovery who struggles with time management. Huh. These are the best solutions that don’t involve crayons and a poster board…

  • Make a To Do list and check things off when you have completed them. Put the hard stuff at the top of the list.
  • Just like recovery, break it down to what you can accomplish in a day
  • Get to know your limitations
  • Plan ahead
  • Rest
  • Prioritize
  • Remember that recovery is about progress not perfection…

And I am going to add something – a reminder to myself to pick up the phone, answer a text, respond to an email. Now. Not tomorrow or never. And I am here to say I am available. I am not too busy…

Today I’m not drinking because I’m too busy (just kidding I’m available for you)…

Taking time to smell the goldenrod…

How come you’re not drinking?