New Year, More Productive Me
When the ball drops each year, a lot of us have hopes and dreams and goals for the new year. We want to lose weight, budget our money better, and get that certificate we've been putting off to name a few things.
Goals are a really great way to figure out what you want, but how do you actually get things done? As someone who has ADHD, Anxiety, Depressions, and PTSD there are some days where just existing seems difficult. Much less, trying to study or code for three hours, work out every day, and cut chocolate all at the same time.
So, how do I get things done? How do I achieve the big goals and dreams I have for myself when just thinking about every step or thing at the same time to achieve them shuts me down?
You work one day at a time.
If you've read my post about my mental health journey (catch it here if you haven't), then you know that I used to suffer from almost daily panic attacks and very crippling depression. When I was in the hospital, I was taught something that still helps me to this day. Each morning, we would have to figure out one attainable task to get done by the last group session before it was time for lights out. Now, there isn't much to do in a psych hospital, so the options were usually something like: make my bed, take a shower, write in my journal, eat a full meal, etc.
Now, these might not seem like big important tasks, however, the act of setting a goal each day, working towards that goal, and acknowledging and celebrating what you achieved is extremely helpful to someone who is suffering from mental health issues. Over time, it starts to change your mindset from "I can't do anything" or "Everything is too overwhelming" to "I am achieving my goals and I am capable of getting things done".
When I was better and left the hospital, this piece of advice stayed with me and it's how I manage to achieve big goals like changing my entire career and passing a certification at the same time.
I have modified the system for myself, but if you are in the throes of burnout or depression, then I would suggest starting with one goal a day.
Each morning, I give myself three things that are attainable that have to get done that day and they are broken down into the following categories, but feel free to make your own.
1.One Work Task
Obviously, we all do more than one task at work, but typically there is one fire or high priority thing that must get done by the time you get off. This can be anything that you can get done that day, such as providing your users/clients with updates or finishing the first draft of a training doc.
Ideally, you'd want this to be something that you don't have to rely on another person for because you can't control other people's actions or work and it can make you miss your goal for the day (though following up with someone can totally be a task)
##2.One Care Task (a.k.a. a cleaning task)
For myself, If my space is cluttered or messy, I find it very hard to focus and it makes me feel bad. This is why this is called a care task (thank you Tik Tok for teaching me this term). Cleaning is an act of self-care that is usually not talked about when self-care is brought up and it can be a difficult thing to achieve when you are feeling anxious, burnt out, or depressed.
If you aren't sure how to start because you feel buried right now, I suggest following DomesticBlisters on Tik Tok.
I choose one care task a day to get done. This can be cleaning or anything that has to do with bills or general 'adulting' type tasks. The good thing with this one is that there is instant gratification and you end up feeling a lot better right away.
##3.One Health Task
If you follow me on Twitter (@courtneylcoen) then you know that I'm currently on a fitness journey to improve my POTS condition. I was just diagnosed with this disability recently and there are a LOT of things in my life that need to change for me to feel better. I put those things in this category.
Some examples are: drink three liters of water, work out, eat 100g of protein, etc.
If you are feeling down, then taking care of your physical health can help you feel better. Getting to the gym is always hard for me, but I always feel so much happier and less stressed after a workout. Eating the right foods will help you have more energy.
If you are unsure what these tasks need to be, talk to your therapist or your doctor. Each person's health and situation is different and will need to be adjusted accordingly.
At the end of each day, I take stock of what I've done for the day and pat myself on the back for the things that I managed to get done. If I don't get something done, that's okay. I break it down in my head why that particular goal wasn't achieved and I either remove it or move it to the next day.
Figuring out why something didn't get done, can help you see if maybe you chose something that you weren't prepared for (you can't drink that water if you forgot to clean your water bottle or to fill up the filtered pitcher), you chose something too big (deep cleaning the entire house on a workday) or if you chose something you can't control (gain 1,000 Twitter followers in one day). Sometimes you'll also realize that it just isn't something that is very important right now.
Dealing with a mental illness is difficult, but you absolutely can achieve things and be productive each day, even if it's just waking up on time. A goal doesn't have to be huge or go along with society's standards of what a goal is. If you get something is done that has been hard for you, then you deserve to celebrate and be proud of yourself.