Yesterday I Attended a class called “Powerful Tools for Caregivers”  which is being presented by the Alzheimer’s Association (if it is available in your area and you have a chance, make every effort to attend as it is an excellent class.)

As a Geriatric Care Manager and a long distance care “participator” for my mother, I like continue to be educated in all things related to eldercare and so I was particularly interested in this class.

One of the things that we, as participants of the class, are requested to do is to complete a weekly “action plan”.   I was introduced to action plans in a group called The National Association of Women in Health Care.

In an Action Plan, you decide:

  • WHAT you are going to do
  • HOW MUCH you will do it (amount of time)
  • WHEN you are going to do it (for example: morning, evening, when the kids are in bed, etc)
  • HOW OFTEN you are going to do it (for example: once a day or Monday, Wednesday, Friday, etc.)

An Action Plan can be something you want to accomplish or something you want to do for your own self care.  (Self care might include a bubble bath, reading, meditation, or attending YOUR OWN doctor’s appointment.)

It generally encompasses a week at a time.

Once you have decided what your action plan will be, you give yourself a confidency rating.  On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that will complete your entire Action Plan during the week?  (It helps to do this in a group or with a couple of friends because they can see the look in your eyes or the tone in your voice as you state what your confidency level is.  They may suggest a modification in order to increase your rating or…..that you might need more enthusiasm towards accomplishing the task.

In this particular class, we are currently concentrating on something that we WANT to do for ourself.

This week, when we were asked to fill out our action plans (Oh yes, I forgot to mention that you should put this plan on paper, so as to solidify it in your mind!), I stared at it blankly.

How can I possibly add one more thing to my list of things TO DO this week?!?!   I have a lesson plan to complete, a book to write this week end, a newsletter to finish, 2 blog posts (here’s ONE of them…..;) , additional copywriting to do, 2 dogs and 20 chickens to feed, a house to clean and 4 webinars to attend!!!!  I don’t even want to plan a bubble bath!

Then it occurred to me.   This is EXACTLY how I felt when I was caring for my father and experts (including MYSELF) told me that I’ve got to take care of myself!!  I don’t have time for that!!

So as I stared at the paper, I began thinking “what goal can I possibly expect to accomplish with any amount of confidence with all that I’ve got planned for myself this week?”  And it hit me.  It doesn’t have to be a TASK.  It can be something that makes a task easier!

Here’s what I chose: a 27 minute timer!

One of my mentors shared some research data with me that stated if you have a task that you need to accomplish (especially if it involves writing, concentrating or working at the computer), chunk it down into 27 minute intervals. 27 minutes is the amount of time that has proven to provide the best amount of concentration for a task.  Then you should get up and walk around for 5 minutes – play with the dogs; walk outside; meditate….whatever takes you AWAY from your work.

So I purchased a strawberry shaped timer at Michaels (for only 3 bucks and it’s adorable) and have placed it on my desk.  I will write in 27 minute chunks and then take a break.  I will do this everyday this week…including my book writing week end.  That’s my Action Plan!

What one thing can you make into an Action Plan that will make something else you are doing a little bit easier?  I would love to hear about YOUR Action Plans!


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