Combining medical appointments with school, work, and finances can sometimes overwhelm me. My mom used to be the keeper of my schedule, but now it’s all up to me, and the pressure is on. The best way for me to reduce stress when everything seems to happen at once is to schedule everything out.
College was a learning experience — more outside the classroom than inside. I had creative freedom in writing my own student newspaper stories, and was required to go out and interview sources throughout Los Angeles in my journalism classes. There was a problem when I tried to handle everything on my own, though: I would forget.
One day, I had scheduled an interview for an extracurricular program at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. When the time rolled around to get ready and leave for the interview, I was happily playing League of Legends without a care in the world. Five minutes after I was supposed to be interviewing, it hit me. Let’s just say I didn’t get in.
I hate being late, and the rollercoaster of emotion which that folly brought me was more than enough to get me to change my ways. Now, whenever my presence is required at a certain time and date, I immediately put it into Apple Calendar. The program reminds me 10 to 30 minutes before each event. Most days, I check my calendar to see if I am forgetting anything.
As you can probably imagine, the system I created while in college has served me well when making doctor appointments. Having Duchenne muscular dystrophy, I see a lot of specialists: pulmonologists, cardiologists, neurologists, etc. I also have to work with government agencies like the Social Security Administration. Add work into the equation, and the schedule starts to feel overwhelming. This calendar method has worked great and removed a lot of stress from my life.
It’s not rocket science, but scheduling was still something I often overlooked before. I recently told my parents, “Now I understand why you are so busy all the time.” Such is the modus operandi for an adult living with a chronic disease. The difference in my attitude when my appointments are put on my calendar versus when they are not is huge.
A few of my housemates at school taught me how to schedule each and every minute of my time. I touched on this in my column about balance. Time is just as important as money. Your money isn’t as effective without a budget; neither is your time without a working calendar. I’ve also found that blocking out time for God, work, entertainment, and meeting with friends has been helpful.
I don’t often feel like I’m on top of things from a physical perspective, but keeping a disciplined schedule in my life has helped me feel like I’m on top of my time. Scheduling out life puts me in control.
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