#588 – How To Get Things Done, Even with RA

Empty clipboard, numbered 1 to 4.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles | Freedigitalphotos.net.

Living with a chronic debilitating disease such as RA (rheumatoid arthritis), you still need to get things done. Taking care of daily living tasks can sometimes require a fortitude that is hard come by, especially when this disease holds you hostage. Not only does it restrict movement, but the pain of that movement is exhausting. The side effects from medications can add another dimension.

A Strategy

Grocery shopping, meal preparation, dishes, bathrooms...They all need attention. Then there are  more long-term things like taxes. While it’s possible to outsource a lot of that, it may not be in the budget.

I want to share a strategy that I use that helps me get things done. It's one I use, even when I'm feeling good.

I call it FT (Five Things). In one bout, I will take care of five tasks. The length of time a job takes is not the determiner. For example: clean the bathroom, sweep the floor, put away the laundry, dust the pictures and tidy the desk. In another session, I might work on a blog post, water the plants, prepare a meal...

If it's one of those uncooperative joint days, FT may become TT or OT (three things and one thing, respectively). Regardless of which T it is, it's followed by a rest.

Alternatively, you could set the timer for 15 Minutes (10 minutes or 5 minutes). Then, see which one works better for you.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I prefer the 5T.


As I wrote in Lowered "Swimpectations", there will be times when you need to lower your expectations for what you can accomplish in a day. There simply may not be enough fuel left in the tank.

However, I urge you to look critically at this. Are you simply disinterested in taking care of whatever needs taking care of or are you legitimately struggling? The habit of consistently lowering your expectations can be a real downer. You may end up feeling badly for not getting anything done. Those negative feelings create stress. The increase in cortisol creates more inflammation. More inflammation equals more pain. The more pain you have, the less you do. Rinse. Repeat.

Will you give 5T or 15 Minutes a try? Let me know how it goes, please. Which one do you prefer?

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