If you're a caregiver, you have a lot on your plate. Taking care of yourself is already a hefty task but throwing a loved one into the mix can make any schedule seem hectic. This is true whether they're living at home with you, in an assisted living community, or still in their own home. So that the demands of senior care don't wear you down, take advantage of these cool productivity hacks to gain some free time to reset and spend as you wish.
Double Up on Meal Prep
Of course you want to make sure your family enjoys nutritious, delicious meals — but cooking can take a huge bite out of your free time, especially if you're coming home after a long day at work. Hit both of your goals — yummy meals and free time — by cooking extra portions while you're in the kitchen. Choose dishes that reheat beautifully, and take advantage of that slow cooker while you're at it.
Organize to Keep Things Simple
Start with your electronic calendar to get a handle on your own time commitments as well as your loved one's medical appointments and other activities. You can also streamline your mornings by choosing your work outfits for the week and having them ready to go by Sunday night. Grant yourself a little grace where housekeeping is concerned, and focus instead on quick passes around the home to do quick tidying.
Simplify Your Banking
If the loved one you're caring for is your parent, you're probably handling their finances — but are you doing this at the same bank? Switch their account over to your bank, and see if you can link your accounts together for easier transactions. You can also save substantial time by opting for online bill payments, so you don't have to deal with the fuss of stamps, envelopes, and paper checks.
Make the Store Come to You
GrubHub, and other local food delivery services. Instacart, in some cities, will also do your shopping at pet stores, pharmacies, and other stores. Think about all the time you'll save when you're not running all those pesky errands — We can feel you smiling already.
If you would like to find other apps that will deliver to your home, make sure to read our lists of caregiver apps.
Work Out at Home
Visualize your routine in going to the gym: Driving across town, looking for parking, changing clothes, changing clothes again, more driving. Do you spend as much time getting ready to exercise as you do actually working out? If so, shift your workouts to your home. A treadmill or stationary bike lets you do double-duty by watching your favorite shows while burning calories, and even exercise bands, a balance ball or a yoga mat can be the basis for a thorough home workout.
Learn to Say "No"
Do you sometimes feel as if you're required to say "Yes" to everyone who asks you for help? Consider this the permission you need to say no to requests that aren't high priority (for you, not for the person making the request). Other people, who have more time, can handle those requests. Try telling people that you've made a New Year's resolution to say "No," and see if that gets your turndowns a little more respect.
As a caregiver, you need to take care of yourself and respect your own free time. That's the starting place for being more productive — and these productivity hacks help, too!
If you're looking for resources on caregiver support, click here.