Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)
We all have different levels of energy, tolerance and mental attention. If suffering from chronic pain, brain injury, or another chronic condition, chances are the DD battery that you used to have has been replaced with some AAA’s. This means that daily activities will take more time, more energy, and you will need to recharge sooner. So, considering this, do you really want to spend your valuable energy looking for stuff?
Consider that you have 10 units of energy when you wake in the morning. Every activity you have on your “to do” list takes one unit. Going for a walk, preparing supper, managing the laundry, responding to emails, attending an appointment, completing personal care, and having coffee with a friend all drain your battery. Some of these activities are necessary, some can be put off, and others are enjoyable. So what if you spend one unit of energy looking for your phone, that bill that needs to be paid, your agenda, or those new runners you bought yesterday? What activity will come off your list when you have spent your energy to find something that with some organization would have taken you no time at all? Maybe you will call your friend to cancel, or order supper in again. Maybe the laundry will wait to tomorrow, or those emails will just keep accumulating. But this is unnecessary because you had the energy, it just became misdirected.
Often the focus of occupational therapy becomes helping people to organize their activities, their stuff or their time. Schedules and consistency are keys to helping people to understand the size of their battery and the amount of units each activity takes. This can be difficult when working with clients who did not need to be organized before an injury or illness, but the necessity of this following cannot be ignored. Even small steps to help people to be more organized can have a huge impact.