Making Up For Time Lost: 5 Tips for Getting Back in the Game


Gantry ParkI just lost a week of productivity due to “acute pharyngitis”, which is the medical term for a sore throat. Normally, one would carry on, ignore it, and complete one’s typical activities with minor discomfort. Not me. My sore throat felt like seven samurai swords incessantly scraping my trachea with a splash of hot sauce and 40 grit sand paper for gauze. When experiencing this type of pain, things such as work, exercise, conversations, smiles, and wakefulness all come a bit harder. In fact, the only thing that feels natural is lying down and feeling sorry for yourself. Sleep even hurts. Now it’s Monday, a week later. I’m in panic mode and have a lot of sh*t to get done. Since it’s time to put my own Life Coaching advice into action, here’s what I’ll do:

1. Prioritize:

What is the most urgent activity to get caught up on today? It helps to determine which items are most time sensitive. Is anyone expecting something from me by a certain time this week? Are there any deadlines today? If so, what needs to be completed in order to meet those hard cut offs? I’ll make a list of all appointments, projects, and collaborations due and rate each of them with an “A” for today, “B” for this week, and a “C” for this month. The good news is that it’s Monday and October is just beginning.

2. Set a Schedule:

Now that I know when items are due and where my priorities lie, I will set a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. So which items need to be completed by COB today? Let’s see – return emails, write new blog, schedule clients, take on-line class, work in studio… You get the picture. Based on the items identified, I’ll set a set a schedule that reflects, in order of priority, what needs to be done by midday, COB, and bedtime for the week. Umhmm, when you work for yourself and/or are a parent, there’s no 9-5 schedule, the workday begins at wake up and ends at sleep time.
South Street Seaport
3. Self Care:

I know that amidst this fury (yes, I said fury and not flurry) of activity, I need some “me” time. Since I lost a week of exercise, which really does balance my hormones, even out my mood, increase my motivation and clarity, and give me energy, I will get back on the bicycle and go for a ride through Central Park today. Since I also know that riding midday through midtown traffic can be a death defying act in-and-of-itself, I will schedule my ride before noon. Easy. I’ll also eat healthily and drink plenty of water.

4. Relax:

When at the doctor, receiving my diagnosis of “acute pharyngitis” last week, my blood pressure crept up toward the higher end of normal. This is very unusual for me and set off alarms, sending it even a bit higher (just guessing!). Was it a manifestation of the illness, or thinking about all the responsibilities that weren’t getting done, the lack of exercise, or simply a result of lamenting the fact that I was lame for a few days? Whatever the cause, I will spend time (five minutes three times each day) mindfully breathing, meditating, and focusing my thoughts on positive outcomes and gratitude for the things that are going right. This automatically activates my parasympathetic nervous system which releases calming hormones throughout my body and improves my general sense of well-being. Ahhh.

5. Get to work!

The week is planned. I feel organized and industrious. The clients aren’t going to schedule themselves, the pottery isn’t going to make itself, the bike isn’t going to ride itself. It’s off to the races! One happy thing is that my blog is done, which being written in the first person has doubled as a journal entry, and I have a sense of accomplishment! You, too can use these helpful tips on Monday’s and everyday to stay focused, calm, and productive.

Gantry Plaza


About Heather Edwards

Heather Edwards is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board Certified Coach, & National Certified Counselor. She is a frequent contributor to Psychology Today. She provides individual psychotherapy and couples counseling, corporate and life coaching.

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