Time management sounds like a presentation we would have at work. Learning to schedule our time, use our time more effectively, and use a calendar properly hardly seem like they have anything to do with treatment for substance use. What does time management have to do with recovery?
Time management helps provide structure and balance as we are leaving our substance use behind. When we manage our time well and align our schedules to reflect our values, we can enjoy a higher quality of life and become more effective, too.
In active substance use, it is unlikely that our time was balanced very well. Inevitably, we may have let some things in our life go as we prioritized our substance use and accompanying behaviors. However, we don’t want to overschedule our new lives and create more stress. We also don’t want to under-schedule our lives, because we don’t need a lot of idle time to be tempted into a relapse, either. Time management in recovery is all about finding balance.
Balance is not just the time we have planned. Balance also refers to the types of activities that we plan. Does our schedule reflect our values? Do the activities we have scheduled reflect the things that are most important in our lives? Are there things such as family and other relationships that we neglected during our substance use? If we look at a week in our calendar, do the activities accurately reflect who we are and what our priorities are?
Balance is also about flexibility. Not only the opportunity to change activities if something doesn’t work out, such as that pottery class we thought we would love but actually hated. But also the flexibility to change our schedule when we have a tough day or have an unanticipated need. Balance is about being disciplined enough with our time and plans, but also flexible enough to be patient when life asks us to be.
Improving Quality of Life
When we manage our time with balance and also according to our beliefs, then we can find more quality of life. We can enjoy life if we are living unscheduled, there is a certain joy in that. However, that is a luxury that we may not be able to afford after substance use, and so planning a well-balanced schedule offers us the opportunity to find more quality of life.
Quality of life happens when our core values are reflected in our daily routines. When we give priority to the activities and people that we believe in, then we are more fulfilled. For example, if family is one of our core values, then spending quality time with them will increase our quality of life.
Becoming More Effective
As we utilize time management to schedule the things that are most important to us, we can also learn to set and achieving goals. The more specific the goal, the more likely we are to follow through with it. In fact, we can set specific dates and times to fulfill our goals, which will help us be more accountable to ourselves and actually complete the tasks.
We can learn to use calendars and schedules to help us fill our time productively. As we do so, we also become more effective at life in general. We are more likely to keep appointments and dates with people when we learn to rely on our schedules. We can fit more in our days and find time for things we didn’t think we could when we utilize our time management skills.
Preventing Relapse with Time Management
We can replace the time we spent in substance use with new and meaningful activities. This will help us to not only keep us busy and focused on positive things, but will also bring more fulfillment in our lives. If we choose to share that time with family, friends, or by volunteering with others, then we can bring fulfillment to other people’s lives as well.
As we look to prevent relapse, we can carefully schedule healthy activities during the times that we would have formerly used our substances. It is important to focus on what we can do. Thinking about what we would have done previously opens a window for a potential relapse and is not a productive use of our time. By keeping our minds on the new things that we can do with our time, we continue to live our recovery fiercely and powerfully.
What does time management have to do with recovery? It is the structure that keeps us sober, the balance we create in our lives. Time management improves our quality of life and also makes us more effective in everything that we do. Time management is like the road map that we make for our lives to keep us safely on the path and to create the journey that we want to live.
We can learn to prioritize our lives according to our values to find balance and find more joy. We can use time management to set and achieve goals both short- and long-term. We can use time management to stay busy enough to stay sober, and still have enough down time to stay healthy. Let time management help you navigate your life.
Find out what time management has to do with recovery at AToN Center. Call (888) 535-1516 to begin finding the balance and fulfillment that scheduling can bring in your life.