Monday, April 9, 2018

Productivity Tips For When You're Fighting Chronic Illness

I love reading articles, and one of my favorite topics to read about is productivity. I enjoy learning about how I can do my job better and faster—and how I can maximize my time as an author. These days, authors are required to be jacks of all trades. We’re masters of our books, but we’re also masters of marketing, social media, blogging, editing, and freelancing. It’s almost impossible to get our workload done if we’re not working smart.

As encouraging as productivity articles are for me, though, they can also be very difficult for me to process through. They’re difficult because I have lived a good portion of my life with a chronic illness, and many of the tips and tricks offered by productivity guru’s just don’t leave room for the challenges daily sickness brings.

That’s why I’ve decided to create my own list of practical tips chronic patients can use to increase their energy and productivity.

1) Wear Comfy and Well-Fitted Clothing

Living with chronic illness means you likely have to conserve energy wherever possible, and clothes have a bigger impact on your energy levels than you’d think. I used to wear a lot of skirts, but as I began to get sicker, I found myself gravitating away from them. Later I realized it was because wearing skirts, especially shorter ones, meant devoting more attention to modesty. You have to cross your legs, or slide into a chair a certain way. Every time you take a step in a longer skirt, you kick through fabric. I just didn’t have the energy to devote to that.
I also noticed I would gravitate away from clothes that were baggy, or pants that were loose around the waist. Adjusting the waistband, or collar, or sleeve of your garment multiple times per day uses up a lot of energy! Being intentional about the outfits you choose is a really practical way to conserve energy and have more leftover for work tasks, and the things you love.

2) Avoid Frustration by Switching Between Physical and Mental Tasks

As much as I wish I could go grocery shopping, cook dinners for the week, and clean the whole house in a day, that’s just not a feasible reality for me. Physical tasks drain me fast, and I get frustrated quickly on the days when they pile up. I’ve learned to take advantage of the moments I’m energized to go to the grocery store, but not be discouraged if it’s difficult to pull myself up when I get home. It’s helped me to also have a list of sit-down tasks I can do while I wait for my body to recharge. 

Instead of grouping physical tasks for the morning and writing tasks for the afternoon, I plan out an hour for cooking or cleaning, and then a two hour “recovery” period for writing or marketing tasks. Not only does this keep me productive throughout the day, but it also alleviates the frustration. Even in the tired stages, I'm still accomplishing things! It keeps me accountable with my breaks, too, and it gives me something fruitful to do instead of watching a TV show or browsing social media until I feel better. 

3) Eat Bread at 3 PM 

Sickness has taught me to listen to my body and to understand what it needs. I used to come home from work absolutely wiped, and I blamed it on, well… chronic illness. But that’s not actually the entire issue. I’ve discovered that my afternoon tiredness can be easily remedied with a simple snack break and some solid carbs. When I moved to New York to get better, one of the things I promised myself was that I’d focus on eating enough food to sustain my body before I worried about diet. That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and it helped SO MUCH with my recovery. 

Make sure you’re eating enough throughout the day to sustain your energy. Seriously, just have some bread and butter. You’ll feel better, and you’ll get more done.

4) Try Homeopathy for Symptom Relief

If you have a chronic illness, then you understand what it’s like to endure tests and medications for years before ever experiencing any relief from your symptoms. You probably know what it’s like to live in a world where almost nothing can help you feel better when you’re having a bad day. This can be extremely defeating and have difficult effects on your productivity.

Since homeopathy is so complicated and intricate, I don’t suggest you use it to heal the actual chronic illness. However, it’s a fantastic option for symptom relief. There are homeopathic remedies for everything. There are remedies to boost energy, mood, and relieve headaches and muscle pain, and they're much safer than popping ibuprofen. 

If you learn your homeopathy, you can use it to find relief from difficult symptoms throughout the day, while pursuing other testing and long-term treatment from your doctor. Simple knowledge about remedies will minimize your symptoms, giving you more room to focus on work tasks.

5) Understand Your Limitations

I don’t know an author who isn’t a workaholic. The most difficult thing about chronic illness for me is having to accept my limitations, and understand that I’m not going to always be able to do everything. Having chronic illness has made me more intentional about my life, and about the tasks and jobs I choose. It makes me examine everything more thoroughly.

I don’t think of myself as a sick person usually, and that can be a positive thing, but it can also be damaging. The key to living with sickness is learning the balance between not letting it defeat you, but also recognizing where you need to give yourself grace. As much as you want to be a normal person, you aren’t. And that’s okay.

Giving yourself the grace that your sickness deserves will help cut down on stress. You’ll be more excited about all you’ve accomplished, instead of kicking yourself because you can’t do more. You’ll be less overwhelmed and your performance will increase. Accepting your limitations is more healthy for your body, too. 

Let's discuss! Have you discovered any productivity hacks that help you through chronic illness? 

{Scroll over to pin}



  1. Although I've never suffered from chronic issues, I have family members who do. As someone who is very driven, it's difficult sometimes to be always patient with someone else's limitations so it helps to see through another's eyes.

    1. That's a great point! I realize it is difficult for other driven people to try to figure us out. :) I'm very driven, too, and I'm so convinced that part of the reason I've been sick is because God wants me to rely more on Him to accomplish things through me, and less on myself to do that! It's definitely a challenge accepting those limitations though, but I guess we have limitations to accept with everything in life! :)

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing tips for chronic patients. I am sure these tips will be helfup for me. I also feel so low these days and these tips will increase my energy level and productivity. I am chronic patient since a year. Also consulted intensive case management center last month for my these issues, they also suggested me some tips like these.