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How Time Management Can Aid in a Healthy Recovery

Alyssa Craig
| March 3, 2015

Time management is a skill many people struggle with, but this challenge can be especially prevalent in those going through the addiction recovery process. The first few years of recovery are crucial to determining the overall success an individual will have. One of the critical factors to success will be the ability to manage time wisely, simultaneously avoiding setbacks and fostering real healing.

The importance of time management is quickly made evident when you look at the results. When someone in any circumstance in life fails to manage their time adequately, it results in added stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. However, when the person is in addiction recovery, the risk of more dangerous repercussions is much higher as any feelings of failure can lead to a relapse.

The individual’s reputation is another important aspect to consider. An individual who is in recovery is looking to create a good reputation once again. If they exhibit signs of poor time management, this can be detrimental as they look for steady employment, work to regain healthy social interactions, and attempt to take on more responsibilities.

For a successful recovery, it is important not only to know what may injure that recovery, but also how to face a situation should it come up. As mentioned in greater detail here, two culprits of poor time management are boredom and procrastination.

• Dangers of Boredom
o Trigger for cravings could creep in as the individual is idle.
o Boredom may lead to the individual romanticizing drugs or alcohol.

• Dangers of Procrastination
o The individual is already currently in the habit of making other things a lesser priority to drugs or alcohol. Continuing this behavior in recovery can be detrimental to making forward progress.
o Procrastination causes anxiety, which might inflict triggers that could lead to relapse.

In order to prevent boredom, procrastination, and other factors from causing a relapse it is important to establish good time management skills. Here are some examples of tools you can utilize to help yourself, or the individual in question, put time to good use.

hand with pen and diary

Time Management Tools

• To-Do List: In order to prevent boredom, you can create a list of tasks that must be done. For most people, to-do lists are constantly being added to so this should be a tool that is rarely outdated. This can also include hobbies the person would like to begin, or start doing again, that may have been discarded for the addiction.

• Prioritize tasks: When deciding what tasks need to be done, prioritize them and even give them due dates. This will help create structure while also spreading out the tasks to reduce the risk of feeling overwhelmed by too much all at once.

• Create a schedule for each day: Sit down and create a schedule; loose or strict, depending on the need of the individual. Give each task an amount of time it should take to complete and suggest tasks to do if something else takes less time than expected. You’ll know what can and should be done at all times of the day, and this can greatly aid in avoiding boredom and procrastination.

• Keep it realistic: This will be especially important to avoid feelings of failure. Know the limitations of time, the task, and the individual when creating goals and tasks to be completed and plan accordingly for them.

• Make sure there is time for relaxation and rest: It is important to schedule in downtime so you don’t feel overwhelmed or burned out.

• Evaluate regularly: If a strict schedule works well, great! If not, make changes as necessary. It is all about individualizing the process to be most helpful for each unique person.

Overall, it is important to take it easy. Obsessing over perfection will not be helpful. Time management, as well as recovery, takes time, effort, forethought, and sometimes a little bit of trial and error. Find what works for you and then stick to it. Time really can be on your side.

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