25 February 2010

Timing Is Everything

Those annoying highly-effective people tell us to arrange our schedule so we take on our most demanding tasks at the time of day when we're most capable. That always sounded like a good idea to me. There are tasks that require focus and attention, and those I can do on autopilot. Of course, when I had a day job, I often wound up spending my most effective time of day sitting in a meeting, or working on a task I could do on autopilot, its priority inappropriately elevated by an imminent deadline. Still, ordering my to-do list by the time of day I could most effectively accomplish a particular task always sounded like a really good idea, even if I never actually managed to do it.

These days, the time of day determines not so much whether I can do a task well, but whether I can manage it at all. You'd think I'd get it by now. Things I can do easily (relatively speaking) mid-morning will be difficult or impossible in the late afternoon. If I put something off to later in the day, even if I really really really mean to get to it, it ain't gonna happen.

In the middle of the morning, most days, the pharmaceutical soup that determines my outlook and energy level predictably has me feeling as cheerful and positive as I'm likely to get. My physical function is as good as it's likely to be all day. Living in the moment doesn't seem so bad. Late afternoon of the same day can be a very bad place. I'm probably stiff and surly and everything is way too hard and I'm f&%king tired of this sh!t. This is not a moment in which I want to spend a whole lot of time, thankyouverymuch.

At a good time of the morning on a good day, when I'm full of energy and purpose and everything seems relatively easy, I still put off tasks to the afternoon even though I know, rationally, that when the time comes, I probably won't be able to do them. I just can't seem to not do that.

The closest I can come to adapting to the drastic difference in what I can do between the good part and bad part of the day is to consciously set my status by the best part of the best time of day. I need to take note of a moment during the day when life is good and I can do stuff and I'm glad to be alive. I need to be able to go back to that moment during the part of the day when things can look very dark and it can be hard to remember that life is good and I'm glad to be alive.

This all sounds embarrassingly new-agey, not to mention whiny and self indulgent, and I'm not sure what my point was, if I had one. And Dragon Naturally Speaking just crashed. Twice. So I guess I'm done.


  1. Zoom, you are so far from being a whiner in my book. This sounds like a matter-of-fact strategy for dealing. While we may not have the same neurowhack or degree of being affected, I really relate to this. In the morning I think.."I can deal with this, things aren't so bad". In the afternoon, I feel as though the life force energy has exited my body and any movement is herculean. Not meaning to be dramatic - just the way it is. I think I'll try to apply your strategy for a couple days.

  2. Donna - Thanks for the reassurance. I nearly didn't publish this post -- having my voice recognition software crash seemed like a rather pointed editorial comment. If you found something useful, I'm glad I let it go.

  3. What! you a whiner - I think not - blowing off steam is a way to keep a grasp on sanity sometimes - so I don't think it is whiny really but if it is whine away.

    I am always amazed at how strong folks are - deal deal deal -
    I like your new-agey take on it.

  4. LOL (sorry, I'm a bit loopy, it's late, I've been going letters from aunt Vi,mom, old boyfriend, current girlfriend, now dead friends, yada yada yada) Same here, I have always been a morning prson, happy, cheery, ready to go at rise of sun, that Monday morning co-worker you hate--me. Now...I still am a morning person, but a bum leg or spilled glass of water and I get all bummed. When I can't transfer and have to call help just as Judge Judy is railing on a dope, I feel angry and "I can't go on!" luckily partner brings me back to reality---"it is late" "you have done a lot" "remember how good you were yesterday at this time?" etc. I will always have my moments no matter how well I plan my "good times" because with MS anything can happen and does. zzzzzzz Hello? Oh, uh, zoomdoggy. What you said.