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Section 21
Making Time for Alzheimer's & Low-Functioning...
by Organizing your Activity Daily Schedule

Table of Contents

Organizing your day for maximum productivity at your facility is an art.  Would you agree?  It requires weaving together your energy and emotional highs and lows, finding the time you need to accom­plish priorities, as well as responding to family members, residents, Activity's staff, volunteers, other Department Heads, etc.

In this section you will learn how to “design” your time by setting up the structure that works best for you. Once you define your time parameters, you will feel more like you control your time rather than like your time controls you.  Sound good?  First let's start with…

Finding Your Peak Time—and Taking Advantage of Your Biological Rhythms
Some of us are morning people, while others are naturally night owls. It is an established fact that we all have energy curve—times during the day when we are in prime form, and then of course the downtimes. These are your biological rhythms.  Ideally you organize certain tasks to coincide with your energy bursts and lapses. One Activity Director, for example, does her toughest work in the morning, when she is fresh, and saves meetings and easier chores for the afternoon.  Think back to your last five days at work.  Are you a morning person or an afternoon person?  Here are…

Six Ways to Take Advantage of Your Biological Rhythms
When you’re at the top of your energy curve
1.  Organize top-priority projects, as well as projects requiring intense concentration and original thinking, to fit into your “high hours.”  When are these peak time?  If you don’t know, take today to observe how you feel.
Circle your Peak Energy Time at work:
8:00    9:00    10:00    11:00   12:00   1:00   2:00    3:00    4:00    5:00   Other __________________________________

Circle your Peak Energy Day at work:
Sunday     Monday     Tuesday     Wednesday     Thursday     Friday     Saturday

Once you have circled times and days above write below a task that requires concentration and original thinking.  For example in the area of Culture Change implementation you might select creating a CNA Inservice as a task that required concentration and original thinking.  You CNA Inservice might be based upon three or four of the grids you completed with residents names and activities from one of the first four Volumes of this Series.  If you select this activity write “Design CNA Inservice” below along with a couple words regarding
1. the residents names and
2. activities you have already implemented with residents,
3. left in their rooms, and
4. would like CNAs to provide to residents

Tasks requiring intense concentration and original thinking to schedule during Peak Times:




 2. Do you have to confront an unpleasant or stressful task, such as giving a recruiting talk for volunteers or arranging to discuss your survey deficiency Plan of Correction with your administrator?  If so write it below and perhaps decide to tackle that task during you Peak rather than Low Energy time at work.  Make sense?

Tasks that are unpleasant or stressful to schedule during Peak Times:



3.     Assign routine jobs you dislike to the high hours, too. If documentation is your biggest burden, organize your list of residents, if possible, when you are up for it, not when you are dragging at the end of the day or right after a big lunch when you have trouble keeping your eyes open.

Tasks that are routine jobs I dislike to schedule during Peak Times:



When you’re at the low end of your curve.
4.  Generally, it’s best to tackle your low-priority or routine tasks you do not dislike during the low end of your energy curve: for example, recording Attendance Records.

Low-Priority task to schedule during the Low End of my Energy Curve:



Clearly the above is a general guide and if the Sing-a-Long is your least favorite activity, you can hardly cancel it because you have decided that time of day is a Low Energy time for you.  But there are many task you do that do not involve set group activity times that have some flexibility regarding when you do them.  Perhaps you have never taken time to step back and ask yourself, “Is there a better day or time of day when if could do tasks that I dislike?”  by doing tasks that you dislike at you high energy times and task that you like at your low energy times you may stop of of your “food dragging” that we all do and get things accomplished in half the time.  Thus you are creating extra time to meet with Department Heads, for example, regarding Culture Change compliance.

Evaluate your Energy Food!
5.  If you must tackle a demanding task during your downtime—for example, if you’re required to attend a Care Plan Conference at the end of the day—fortify yourself with a high-energy snack. A few spoonfuls of cottage cheese or some nuts, a small can of orange juice, or an apple about fifteen minutes before the meeting can give you a much-needed boost.  I know… I love sugar, but for some of us, ask yourself if the caffeine in the chocolate makes you hyper or a little too emotionally charged.  If not, go for it!  But if you are like I am, I have to ration out caffeine to low stress times.  You be the judge.  Write your ideal "energy-snack" below.


If you have a minute…
6.  At an energy low?  If you have the time… Take a break—chat with colleagues, call your spouse. Or do a few stretches and breathing exercises to invigorate fatigued muscles and trigger those endorphins.

When I have the time, how do I take a break?

The point to be made in this Section is: 
1. Be aware of your energy ups and downs on a daily basis.
2. Use the Six Tips above to most efficiently plan your day.  You may be amazed how much time you can create in your day if you shift one or two tasks to high energy or low energy times according, to keep yourself working at peak efficiency.

If you are not feeling highly motivated to implement any of the preceding ideas, think again!.  The Implementation of Culture Change requires cooperation from other departments.  You are requesting schedule changes, transporting, and doing activities.  In order to make these requests and provide training for other staff, the more professional and organized you present yourself, the more likely the other department heads, therapists, CNAs, etc. are to treat you with respect and take your Culture Change requests seriously.  Agree?  So I suggest you strongly consider rereading the preceding section more than once.  Sift through it to find the ideas you need to implement.

Forward to Section 22
Back to Section 20

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