Friday, July 31, 2009

My Routine: 31 Days Later, Do I Have a Routine?

Fibromyalgia AwarenessImage by Kindreds Page via Flickr

There is a story I know a snippet of, about one of the founders of Hewlett-Packard. Either William Hewlett or David Packard was asked how to estimate how long a project would take to complete. He replied, " Take the time you think it will take and multiply it by three."

I've found that when you live with chronic illness as I do, the answer to that question is more like, "Take your estimate and multiply it by at least 10."

I don't know if I can say with confidence that I now have a routine, but I know that I am well on my way to developing one. I feel better about the concept, having aired out all my negative perceptions at the beginning of the month (Routine Defined, Or Why I Cringe When I Hear The Word). I then jumped into the task and found that I have some of the pieces already together (What have I learned so far about minimizing my symptoms? - Part 2).

I know that I need to keep it simple---simple is sufficient
, expect the unexpected, live harmoniously with my chronically ill body and schedule days of rest. I've embraced my inner turtle and can be heard chanting the turtle motto: I'm not lazy, I'm just pacing myself! I even had an A-ha moment; aren't you proud of me, Oprah?

I'm going to end this month of blogging on the theme of routine by sharing with you my revised My Personal Rules and Not To Do lists. In the spirit of KISSIS, I am distilling each list into six easy to remember items.

My Personal Rules:

  1. The Golden Rule of Chronic Illness: If I pace, I can play. If I push, I will pay.
  2. Each day, keep a running tally of activity time. Using the CFS/Fibromyalgia Rating Scale, I know I can be active 2 to 4 hours a day
  3. 15 minute rule: When active, stop every 15 minutes to check in. Stop if tired. Continue on for another 15 minutes if feeling OK. Then stop and repeat process.
  4. Stay inside my energy envelope---through pacing, planning, resting, checking in and saying no.
  5. Do something fun every day.
  6. At the first sign of flare-up, rest, rest rest!

My "Not To Do" List

Do not:
  1. Stand, when I can sit.
  2. Walk more than a few minutes, when I can use a scooter (either my travel scooter or the one provided at the store.)
  3. Shop alone; instead bring someone along to help me.
  4. Shop in-person; instead, when possible, shop online.
  5. Leave the house more than once a day (i.e. no more than one outing/appointment/engagement a day.)
  6. Schedule more than 3 or 4 outings/appointments/engagements outside the house in a week.

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