Time Management in Addiction Recovery

To Do List

Addiction consumes time – not only in the actual act of using drugs or alcohol, but in obtaining substances, and recovering from the effects of the substances.  While recovering, people find that they suddenly have more time on their hands.  In not properly managing that time, it is easy to become stressed, bored and possibly relapse.  Below are 5 tips to help you manage your time effectively in order to aid you in your recovery.

Make a List

Create a list of the things that you need or want to do.  Set a deadline for everything on the list.  If you do not create deadlines, tasks will slip through the cracks and will never be completed.  Prioritize items on the list by importance and deadline.  As you begin to work, start on the most important tasks.  If there are large tasks that seem intimidating, break them down into smaller tasks so that the larger tasks can be completed more effectively and with less stress.

Prioritize Daily

Every day, the most important tasks will change, as due dates for items draw nearer.  Complete the tasks that are due that day first.  It is also important to work every day on the larger tasks that are not due immediately so that when their deadlines come, you don’t stress out about them, as they will be mostly completed. Re-evaluate your to-do list daily to make sure that the deadlines and priorities are realistic.  

Allow for Breaks

Allow a ten minute break about every hour when working on projects to get a glass of water, eat something or just breathe.  Resting is rejuvenating.   If you are too focused on your to-do list, you can start to feel drudgery and depression.  Taking a break will reduce stress and refocus you as you begin working again.  However, make sure that the breaks are short as to not allow down time that could lead to seeking out the addictive substance.  If you find yourself with too much free time, pick up a new hobby.  This will fill your time with a positive activity as well as make you a more accomplished individual.  

Minimize Distractions and Interruptions

While working, minimize distractions like cell phones, televisions and the internet.  Put your phone on silent and out of sight.  Close additional browsers if you are using the internet.  Disconnect from social media sites.  Turn off the television.  Sit in a quiet room where you can focus.  If you like to listen to music, play it quietly in the background.  

Start Early

Newton’s first law, or the law of inertia, states that an object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest (unless acted upon by an outside source).  It is important to get up and start working early in the morning in order to make the entire day productive.  As you continue your task list for the day, you will feel fulfilled and can even accomplish more than you would have otherwise.