Being productive can be an extremely difficult task for those with bipolar disorder depending on their mood. Personally, I have no problem maintaining productivity when I’m manic. In fact, I can’t sit still during manic episodes; I’m always finding something to do. However, staying productive during a depressive episode is one of the most difficult challenges I face; it can even be difficult at times when I’m feeling well. I use the following techniques to help me stay productive and organized:
- I make a to-do list every day. During depressive episodes, I write down some of the smallest tasks such as make the bed, feed the dog, brush my teeth, etc. Writing these things down helps me to see how much I actually get done every day. Once I complete a task, I cross it off my list; this shows me all of the things I’ve done each day.
- When I’m really struggling with depression, I write down some tasks on my to-do list that I’ve already completed and cross them off. Then I can look at my list and feel more productive.
- To-do lists not only help me stay productive, but they also help me remain organized. My mind tends to get easily distracted, so organizational skills are extremely important for me.
- Taking medications regularly is vital. Our doctors prescribe these to us for a good reason; the meds can only really help us if we take them regularly, as prescribed.
- Keeping a regular routine is also extremely important. This includes waking up and going to bed at the same time, showering at the same time, eating at the same times every day, setting aside a specific time each day to call friends or family, and working out at the same time every day are some examples of learning to keep a routine schedule.
- A good night’s sleep is extremely important. It helps us to stay healthy. It’s important to sleep in bed instead of on the couch, and it’s also important in my experience to sleep at least 7 hours. If only I could follow my own advise for this one. Sleeping is something that’s easier said than done, but we can generally be more productive when we’re not tired all day long.
- Exercise helps us feel good, and when we feel good, we are more productive. Walking the dog is a great form of exercise. Sometimes, all I can do is walk around the house, but it’s better than nothing. Sometimes I can do workout videos, but it’s not necessary to push yourself to do that much, as long as you do something.
- Eating healthy is important. This is another one of my struggles. I tend to eat things that are easy to grab; or when I cook it’s generally unhealthy but tasty.
These suggestions are what I use to stay productive and feeling healthy. The to-do lists and taking medications are the things that work the best for me. I know I need to improve with the other healthy habits. They don’t always work, but it’s better when I try. Please remember that these suggestions are just from another person diagnosed with bipolar disorder, none of this information is from a doctor or medical professional.
4 thoughts on “Productivity with Bipolar Disorder”
You left “writing on your blog” off your list 🙂
Just a thought – maybe when you can’t sleep (or at any other time) you can try meditation. Like everything, there are many different styles and methods, but essentially it it isn’t about making your mind BLANK like some people think. Wondering if you or your readers have tried it?
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Good point, I did forget to put blog writing on my list of techniques to stay productive. I do, however; put it on my to do list every day. Someone very close to me recently suggested meditation. I used to be completely against it, but now I think I can find a method that would work for me. Even if I just take 5 minutes to simply breathe in and out, while listening to something peaceful, such as the sound of a fountain. This is something for me to work towards. Sitting still is not easy for me, but I can still try.
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Sometimes during depression, to do lists are impossible for me to handle. On these days,I have a “What I’ve Done List”. This at least helps me see that I’ve accomplished a few things. They might be small like brushing my teeth, making the bed, even getting up, or getting up before the kids leave for school. Kinda backwards, but out works for me.
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Sometimes they can be really hard to do. In those times, I make to do lists, but only put on things I have already done, that way I can cross everything off. I too add in the smaller things. Sometimes I even add in ‘make a to do list’. You said it sounded backwards, but I completely understand and often do the same thing.