Through working at Lake Washington Sports & Spine, I have come to realize that being injured is like having a part-time job. Between going to see Drs. Hyman & Chimes, going to physical therapy, doing the home exercises as recommended by physical therapist, and all the traffic in between the hours dedicated to healing your injury can add up fast. Let alone the physical activity you regularly do to stay fit. And no one plans for an injury, so where is that time going to come from? Organization.
As a collegiate athlete, I needed to be organized in order to succeed in both the classroom and at the racecourse. Every decision I made was framed as “how am I going to get this done while maintaining a 9:00PM bedtime? (On the rowing team, practice started at 5:30AM.) From this, I developed habits which have carried into my professional life and make time for, say, being injured.
Pearl #1: Learn to use the crock pot. The praises of batch meal preparation have been sung in most every life-hack article because it is effective. Batch meal making can mean using the crockpot, doubling the volume of whatever you cook this week for the following week, or encouraging your significant other to do so. Aim for recipes that lend themselves to freezing and reheating, like; meatballs, soups, stews, and sauce-based meals. Create variance by changing the main protein, adding quinoa instead of brown rice, or switching out the vegetables. Below is a link to my favorite meatball recipe that freezes and reheats well.
Pearl #2: Clean out the freezer to accommodate for Pearl #1 and recruit your Costco-loving friend or significant other for help.
Pearl #3: Pack your clothes for the following week on Thursday night (or whatever time works well for you). By the time the end of the week rolls around many of us are tired and our motivation has waned--perfect time to do a mind-numbing, low-bandwidth task. I suggest using this time to pick out your work clothes for the following week. I pack all clothing I need for work (socks, pants, undergarments, shirt, belt, etc.) into zippered bags and hang the ironed clothes in my car. This gets me out the door quickly in the morning, which can be a huge timesink.
Pearl #4: Set alarm reminders for when it's time to leave the house/gym for work. Are you one of those people who sit in morning traffic just praying the clock said it was a few minutes earlier? Or how did it take you 40 minutes to get out the door? Set an alarm for when you have to leave in the morning to get to your next stop. The act of finding your phone to turn off the alarm takes you away from whatever you are doing at that moment, making you pause and check-in; what do I need to do to get out of the house in the next 10 minutes? Morning time is often hardest for most people, but this Pearl could also be applied if you need to leave work by a certain time.
Pearl #4: Look at the following week’s schedule on Wednesday or Thursday. Looking at your schedule well in advance of the next week helps: anticipate when you will be busy and, on the converse, when your time to relax is; what things you might need to do now to prepare for next week; or details you need to pin down (is that tentative lunch cancelled or still on the books)? If you are a calendar user, set a calendar reminder to do this. (P.S. Gmail has a function where they email you calendar notifications.)
(see “delivery notifications”)
(also great ideas for Gcal users!)
Though these Pearls do require an investment of time up-front as you are trying to create a new habit, with them you’ll be well on your way efficiency - thereby creating more time to dedicate to recovery and taking care of your injury!