In juggling life with PH, I try to make the most of my usable hours

I've discovered a few tips to keep me productive as well as healthy

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by Jen Cueva |

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If you’ve been following my journey, you’re probably aware that I navigate pulmonary hypertension (PH) alongside a mix of other intricate coexisting conditions. The physical and mental strain my body endures leads me through a daily battle with symptoms and the toll of finding and maintaining equilibrium.

Living with my chronic illness fills my days with appointments, treatments, and symptom management. But what about the myriad other tasks and responsibilities of adulting? Like many of you, I wear multiple hats, including caring for my family, juggling work, and maintaining a home.

There never seem to be enough hours in the day. I’m always racing from one thing to the next, striving to squeeze everything into my schedule. And when I finally catch a breath, it’s a struggle not to feel guilty for taking a break instead of catching up on all that’s pending — unless my body intervenes, forcing me to pause.

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Managing my anxiety about having a busy schedule

Recently, I had an eye-opening moment that struck a chord. It took me a few weeks to figure it out, and I bet many of you can relate, too. The question that got me thinking was, “How many truly usable hours do I have in a day?”

I realized that while I may have 24 total hours each day, I can only use about half of that time effectively. The other half consists of sleep, distractions, interruptions, and wasted moments, all atop of managing my PH. Think about it: How often do you check your phone or mindlessly scroll through social media during the day? How often do you get pulled into lengthy conversations that waste valuable working hours?

Unfortunately, my productivity hinges on keeping my symptoms in check and balancing life with PH, chronic kidney disease, chronic pain, and more. I need to prioritize and handle my energy levels to maximize my usable hours. That realization led me to reevaluate how I spend my time and make changes in my daily routine.

Tips to optimize usable hours

We all have peak energy and focus times. Mine is usually in the morning. Identify your most productive hours and plan tasks accordingly. Turn off phone notifications, schedule email and social media checks, and create a quiet workspace for uninterrupted focus. These steps are crucial for those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or other focus challenges. Make to-do lists and find your optimal work methods.

Rest and rest again

Rest is another crucial element that I often overlook! Regardless of your rare or chronic disease, the body constantly handles your symptoms. It’s no surprise that fatigue is a common challenge.

Remember to rest when needed. If you’re tired by 8 p.m., can you wait until morning for your remaining tasks? And if you can’t keep your eyes open in the afternoon, allow yourself a nap.

Rethink your workload

Listen up, let me paint you a picture with my own story. I can’t imagine trimming down my to-do list, no matter how lengthy it gets. I juggle a lot, balancing projects I’m passionate about with those vital for my well-being. But amid all that, I’m discovering the art of scaling back.

Recognize daily interruptions and manage them efficiently. Set specific email times, limit screen time, and communicate with co-workers about time and tasks. Prioritize self-care for productivity. Being mindful of habits and making small changes can boost productivity. When sidetracked, assess the impact on work and implement focus strategies.

Your productivity and sanity will thank you.

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


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