When I got divorced in 2002, I thought that after the decree was signed by the judge everything would be better. I'd somehow magically be over all of the pain, fear, anger and disorganization that seemed to have overtaken my life. But, as you've probably guessed, the divorce decree wasn’t quite the magic wand I was hoping for.
It took me more than a year to really get myself feeling good again. There were just so many changes in my life and I didn't have a great way for absorbing all them, given the demands of a life I was already dealing with. I wound up procrastinating instead of doing things. My house was a wreck. I hardly had any food in the kitchen, but that didn't matter because I didn't eat much. My health was deteriorating. I was hardly sleeping. I think I was running on adrenaline, caffeine, sugar and not much else. Bottom line: I was exhausted and falling behind on everything.
I found my way out of the mess divorce created in my life, but it wasn't a simple task. I had to decide what was really important to me. I had to change the way I did things. And I had to change the way I thought about things.
It wasn't until I found my way out of the mess that I was able to look back at where I'd been and realized that there's a big piece of divorce that no one talks about. Real divorce recovery requires that you change how you live your life, that you examine your priorities, and that you do things you might never have done before or you become comfortable with letting some things go. This piece of divorce recovery that no one talks about is what I call The Functional Divorce because how you function and simply just are in the world changes when you get divorced.
One of the most important pieces of The Functional Divorce is developing a time management system that works for you. Yes, time management. When you're going through divorce it's so easy to lose track of time to the rollercoaster ride of unpredictable emotions — shock, denial, grief, anger, loneliness, etc. Heck, the emotional ride is exhausting, but in the midst of all of this turmoil there are certain things that must be done. You've got to continue working, caring for the kids, caring for the pets, caring for your aging parents, and caring for your home to name just a few. On top of all that you've got to deal with the legal process of divorce which is probably unfamiliar to you AND you've got to figure out how to do all of the things that your former spouse used to do. You might now need to deal with car repairs, keeping up with the kids' schedules, making meals, finding a new place to live, selling your home, moving… Your life was full before the divorce and now you've got even more stuff heaped on your overflowing plate of responsibilities and which just adds to your overall sense of exhaustion.
By carefully managing your time, you’ll be able to more easily navigate all the tasks and emotions of divorce, and more quickly achieve real divorce recovery — which means you’ll be able to get on to living the best of your life sooner.
Yes, it's simple to say that time management is one of the necessities of real divorce recovery. But adding one more task, to figure out time management, probably doesn't seem to be exactly what you need right now. So, to help you develop your system, here are the top 5 time management tips for real divorce recovery that I used for myself, and that I teach my clients.
Time management tip #1: Make friends with your timer. One of the realities of divorce is the need to do things you don't want to do, or even feel energetic enough to start. This is where using a timer is one of the best time management tips I can give you. Make an agreement with yourself that you can handle anything for just 15 minutes (or 10 or even 5 if that's all you can handle). Set your timer and then laser focus on getting that one task done. The task can be anything: putting together information your attorney has asked for. It can be allowing yourself to cry. It can even be researching where to buy tires or putting together a grocery list. Giving yourself the gift of this time to focus on just one task at a time is one of the most effective ways to get through your functional divorce and experience real divorce recovery.
Besides getting things done, there are other benefits to using your timer. Setting a timer eliminates the need for you to watch the clock which will allow you to focus completely on your task. As soon as the timer rings, you can then choose to continue working on the task or stop and congratulate yourself for moving things forward. As you make better friends with your timer, an amazing thing starts to happen. You'll start to feel a sense of accomplishment. When you feel better about what you’re getting done, you'll actually start to feel better about yourself too! How's that for a reason to make friends with your timer? Keep reading...
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