Chronicling the steps to creating a SUCCESSFUL life.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I inherited two things from my parents:  Rheumatoid Arthritis from my dad and a love of crochet from my mom. 
Crocheting intricate doll dresses and tiny doilies became increasingly difficult to the point I had to have surgery to repair joint damage in my right hand. After my surgery and several months of physical therapy, I was ready to take to the crochet hook, again. I had to make adjustments to my crochet techniques, essentially learning my craft all over again.  I began using an ergonomic hook, which made all the difference.  However, if I go a few days without crocheting, I notice more stiffness in my hands and they are far more achy and painful. 
By following these tips, I am able to 
  • Warm up. Soak your hands in warm water and lightly stretch them before starting your project to reduce stiffness.
  • Switch it up.  Move between crochet projects so you don't put excessive, repetitive strain on your hands. For example, I will alternate between a project that requires tight stitching, such as a doily or other thread crochet project, and something looser, like a crocheted afghan.
  • Loosen up. The more forceful your grip, the more you compromise your joints and hands. Be intentional about a more relaxed grip. 
  • Pick projects carefully. Very large projects such as oversized sweaters and afghans can get heavy and might be hard to manage. If you’re making a gift for a birthday, allow yourself plenty of time to complete it so that you don’t strain your hands while rushing to finish.
  • Rest. RA can flare in response to certain triggers, and one of those is overwork. I definitely pace myself rather than overworking my joints.
  • Try heat. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for me. I use special gloves designed to help support the joints and keep my hands warm.
  • Take medication for pain and stiffness. Talk with your doctor about the best drug options for you. You might want to take medication before a prolonged period of work on a project.
  • Get support.  Reach out to the local arthritis association groups, through which you’re likely to find other people coping with the same problems.
Above all, don't allow your illness to rob you of your love of crochet. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Make the Most of The Time You Have

You can manage time better by finding lost time. Lost time is that which you didn’t even realize you were wasting in the first place. It’s almost like keeping change in a piggy bank and one day you realize it’s totaled over $100! 
Don’t waste the time that most people do. 
There are ways to find time that’s often overlooked because people tend to think of time management as being large blocks of time available. But you can do a lot with just ten or fifteen minutes.
Don’t waste the time you have while waiting in a doctor’s office or while exercising. If you like to use a treadmill, you can get one that has a desk so that you can take care of something that has to be dealt with. 
Realize that not everything that seems important is. 
It only seems that way. Look at your life and stop doing the things that aren’t important that drain your time. If something isn’t a matter of you being happy and succeeding personally or professionally, then it’s not important. 
Run ahead, not behind. 
When you get behind schedule, it can make you feel a lot of pressure and it adds stress to your life. Try to get things done ahead of time because this gives you a buffer in time management. 
Delegating is a great way to help with time management.
Most people like to do things themselves because they know then that the job is done correctly. But if you do the things that others can do, it’s draining your time. For example, some time drains are things like mowing the grass or cleaning the house, scheduling meetings, handling social media updates. 
What you can do is to look at how much it costs you do the tasks that you do. If someone else can do them, then you’re not only losing time - you’re losing money. 
If you earn $200 per hour, then an hour of mowing the grass costs you $200. But if you pay someone $50 to mow the grass, then you saved an hour and $150 because you gained time. 
Deal with emails the right way. 
Handling email causes more people to get off track than any other online task beside social media and online games. 
Manage your time wisely with email by setting aside a specific time to deal with email and setting a time limit on how long you’ll take responding to the messages. 
If they’re not important, don’t save them to look at later because they’ll only pile up in your inbox. If your life allows you to, hire an assistant to deal with handling your email