Under Stay-At-Home Orders?: How to Organize your Day during the Pandemic

At the best of times, managing your life can be a challenge.  Family, friends, work, chores, grocery shopping, pets, and showering can be all be overwhelming now given the current situation, especially for Autistics or those with disabilities.  Many of the daily tasks that we were used to off-loading to others before the pandemic are now up to all of us individually to complete.  Maybe some of you were able to have dog-walkers, daycare for children, house cleaners, and shopping apps to help keep everything together.  Maybe some of you were able to go do day programs or have in-home assistance.  Now that those situations have changed, how do we organize our time to get everything done without abandoning self-care and good mental health practices?

It can be easy to feel helpless and alone during a crisis situation, and given the severity and enormity of the pandemic, we can’t control the virus itself, the containment efforts, or the length of time before the return to normalcy.  But what we can control is our ability to structure our time while we are at home.  Time management is a specific and important executive function that can bring structure, routine, and a sense of predictability to our days, weeks, and months even in a chaotic and stressful world.  A way to manage your time well is through the use of schedules.  Whether it is printed weekly schedules with hourly boxes, visual task schedules for the day, or utilizing technology such as your phone’s calendar with audio alerts, any option that is the most accessible for you will be the best choice.  Here are some examples:

A weekly schedule with hourly timeslots and color coded days of the week.
A visual schedule with 20 blocks using drawings and picture icons to indicate activities during the wake-up routine, AM, PM, and nightime routine.
A photo of a iPhone screen with a color coded daily schedule in the calendar app.

Whatever option you choose, be sure to include everything you need to do in the day or week, including time to shower, eat, virtual calls with family or friends, take care of routine daily tasks, and relaxing downtime.  Many of you may now have your children or grandchildren at home with you during the day; scheduling specific details into your day will be vital to making sure that everyone’s needs in your household are met. 

If you would like help with scheduling your time to be more productive and reduce anxiety and stress, other executive functioning challenges, or any other issue that you may have, contact us for our low-cost virtual coaching, https://grasp.org/coaching-services/.  Finally, we are offering free online chat groups for peer-support, Monday through Friday, https://grasp.org/resources/.