Working Smart: the Basics

As anyone with limited stamina for whatever reason knows all too well, you have to work smart, so here are some of my best tips, tricks, and props regarding the basics of ‘the daily’, so to speak.


I have a bullet journal that houses the daily ‘to-do’ list; I review every day always looking 2 days ahead so if something has to be rescheduled or canceled, I’m giving plenty of notice.  Obviously, it isn’t always possible to give 24-48 hours notice, but when possible, be mindful [and] courteous.


I’ll say it again: plan!

Take your shower and get dressed; open the blinds and make the beds. Gather anything you need to get your to-do list accomplished without having to go upstairs again and again.

Stairs are an energy drain, so take the time to think through your morning, your plan of the day.


We have a bench, seat built into our shower, so I don’t have to stand to shower if I don’t want to. It’s rare that I use the bench these days. However, after the transplant, I could not stand through an entire shower and I used it every single day.

As my heart failed, our family only used one shower and bathroom so that the other 3 didn’t need to be cleaned on a weekly basis. This is a good idea for an individual or family living with any type of chronic condition.

Again, its all about working smarter, not harder.

Sitting to shower takes far less energy than standing even though you still have to raise your arms above your head to wash your hair. When you are so physically compromised there is little to no room for pride. I have been bathed by my sister-in-law, friends, andof course, my husband many times to conserve energy for other parts of my day.

Blow-drying Hair, Putting on Makeup:

I am convinced that we all need to have vanities, but I’m guessing very few do, including myself. So, I recommend a chair and a handheld mirror or a make up mirror. You know, a makeup mirror like the ones oh so popular in the 80’s!

I am SO glad that I was a teenager in the 80’s or back in the 1900’s as I tell our teenager: amen?!

Sit while you blow dry your hair and put on your makeup.

You will expend much less energy.


Sit down to put your socks, shorts, skirts, or pants on. If the seSon allows you a choice, then choose skirts. It is far easier to pull up, then down to go to the bathroom, ladies andabsolutely NO jumping up and down to try to make it into a snug pair of jeans. Give it up; I lived in yoga pants!

Again, this conserves your energy.

A few parting shots:

  1. Be realistic: the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time and so it is in approaching any given day.
  2. Set measurable goals: If it’s laundry day, then how many loads can you realistically wash, dry and fold without getting over-fatigued? Let that number be your goal and leave the putting away of clean laundry to the ones who wear the clothes.
  3. Don’t rush through your morning routines: savor them, enjoy them. Love on your family before they head out in the morning and celebrate them when they come home at the end of the day.
  4. Hugs: give lots and get lots.
  5. Give your self grace and remember progress not perfection is the goal; recovery is hard work in and of itself.

Begin with your end in mind; it is far better to be rested and pleasant than tired [and] cranky.*

*I was extremely ill for 2 weeks in April of this year and my doctor prepared me for at least a month long recovery period. It took all of that month to recover, but now I am back to myself actually feeling better than I have in a long time. However, it took time, planning, a willing heart, an open mind [and] some really hard work.

For a month I cleared my calendar all nonessential activities. I spent most of every day on the daybed sleeping and when I wasn’t sleeping, I was working on posts. My husband took over almost every aspect of our household until I began to show evidence of strength.

Last week, I walked 30K steps and roughly 13 miles. That’s up from a low of 500 steps  and a few miles per week for a solid month. I was able to surprise my dad [and] spend Father’s Day with him plus I met one of my cousins for lunch last Saturday. I’ve kept my time commitments and made a dent in deep cleaning our house beginning with the kitchen.

I rest when I need to rest and I sleep when I need to sleep. To do otherwise is foolish on my part.

It pays to conserve your energy; this week I am in Maui celebrating 25 years of marriage to my college sweetheart, beloved husband who has lived a lifetime in these years. He loves me, i mean, he REALLY loves me!

For more tips, tricks, and props click here.

I’d love to hear some of your energy conserving strategies, so please leave a comment below.

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