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Techniques and Tips used to conserve energy and stay organized- Member topic for July

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    Techniques and Tips used to conserve energy and stay organized- Member topic for July

    Your Member Topic for July is here!
    You made suggestions and we listened!

    Thanks to all who participated in June's Member Topic of the Month! It's hard to believe it's July already!

    For the month of July, your topic will be Techniques and Tips used to conserve energy and stay organized.

    Please join us in this important conversation on what techniques and tips you use to help you get through the days. Your thoughts and concerns on this topic are always welcomed!

    Thank you all for your participation and stay tuned for more topics from your suggestions in the months to come! We appreciate all your thoughtful ideas and hope to hear more from you! You can add more suggestions here:
    Last edited by Seasha; 07-03-2016, 02:16 PM.
    1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
    Administrator Message Boards/Moderator

    We are not wealthy people. Would probably be considered to be middle class. On the low end. We live in a two bedroom bungalow, which is affordable because housing are low in our area of the country.
    But there are two "luxuries " that I decide to spend on.
    1. I hire a housekeeper. He comes once every two weeks. He cleans. He folds laundry. (I wash and dry it.). He unloads and reloads the dishwasher.
    2. We eat out a lot of meals. When we don't, we often have restaurant leftovers or just fend for ourselves with something simple or snack food. I rarely cook.

    I've never been someone who enjoyed home-making. I enjoyed parenting. And I enjoyed my career. But not cooking and cleaning.

    Choosing to do these things conserves energy. For me, it also reduces stress.

    The other energy conservation strategy is simply choosing carefully what to say yes to, and when to say no. To others. And even to myself if there is something I want to do but I'm busy enough already or I know it will tire me.

    And, pacing myself, taking regular naps, etc.
    Last edited by Mamabug; 07-06-2016, 05:38 PM.
    ~ Faith
    MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
    (now a Mimibug)

    Symptoms began in JAN02
    - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
    - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08

    - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
    - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.


      Just got back from grocery shopping and this thread reminded me on how much I need to stay organized while doing so. It really wears me out, so I've gotten in the habit of going to the same store where I know the aisles by heart, and this may sound silly, but my grocery list is made according to the paths I take in the store. Saves so much time, but woe is me when I forget my list!

      At home, I use a walker not only for help with walking, but it makes a great carrier for carrying food, small laundry, and just about everything else I can fit on or in it.

      One thing that helps me stay focused as a move from room to room, is to say outloud words like "find my water bottle" or "take papers to recycle bin" etc. It's like a mantra. If I didn't do this, I'd be roaming around multi-tasking and forgetting what was my original intent.

      I too have a house cleaner every 3-6 months to do major cleaning.

      I prep for dinner in various stages to conserve energy as my legs won't hold up for long. Then when it comes time to cook, everything is already chopped, can if used are open, plates are out, etc.

      I also have 3 calendars (including phone) that I write down appts and other impt things.

      Oh and yes, I pace myself too.
      1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
      Administrator Message Boards/Moderator


        A few ideas

        I set reminders on my phone for everything. If I remember I need to so something in the evening during the day, onto my calendar with a reminder ding it goes. I also send myself emails for things I need to do the next day.

        I have just rediscovered having my groceries delivered. I will be doing this from now on. I don't mind going to a farmers market for fresh veggies and fruit, but I am steering clear of the grocery store.

        I am also going to look into a cleaning service.

        I go to bed during the week by 9 or so (I wake up at 5:30) and for the most part that gives me my energy to get through the day. But if I wake and i am having a rough time, I take advantage of my reasonable accommodation through my job and work from home.
        Diagnosed RRMS 4/7/15, symptoms for 8 months prior. Copaxone 4/27/15


          Cell phone is my best friend

          My cell phone is my best friend! While standing at the desk to make appointments, whether it's a doctors office, the hairdresser, or make a date with a friend, I put it on my cell phone calendar right then. I set the alarm to remind me at least one day before and a second alarm for an hour before (depending on travel time). I also use the calendar to remind me of birthdays, anniversaries, and when to pay bills, etc.

          I use voice to text to remind me to do things, like call the doctor, call a friend, pick up something while in town. I use the note function to add items to my grocery list as soon as I see I need it.

          I also use my phone to make a list of where I put important things, like my hiding place for presents, where I put an extra stylus for my phone, or a part I found laying on the floor but have no idea what item is from whence it is missing.

          When I try to fix something, I take a picture of it first so I know how it is suppose to go back together. :-)

          I have a file where I store all my passwords. It is only accessible by two of my fingerprints.

          If I need to something in 5 minutes or an hour, I use the alarm clock on my phone.

          The only problem with this? If I loose my cell phone I am lost. However, I do have a locator attached to it, and a calendar reminder to backup my phone every week. And one on my computer too.
          DX 2007 Started Ocrevus on 2/14/2018

          "Some where over the rainbow...."


            Excellent topic!! I definitely need help in this area but here are some things that have really helped me.

            I'm learning more and more how to choose my battles. I'm not the same person I was 5 years ago ... or even one year ago ... so I really have to check myself. Am I being unrealistic? Am I doing too much? Where can I cut corners? Where can I totally eliminate? I love to cook, but I absolutely cannot do what I used to do. So now I have tools that help me (kitchenaid, mandoline slicer, etc.) Yet even with these helps, I still must take it slow and keep it simple.

            Someone mentioned food prep - YES! A must. And the crockpot Also, I try to make extras for leftovers or freezer meals.

            My responsibilities around the home are continually being trimmed down and adjusted. During times of "extra" (haha!) energy, we all just consider it a bonus that I can pitch in a little more. There are not very many things that I am exclusively responsible for because I cannot be depended on.

            I've found that the Flylady system is a blessing. I don't follow it exactly but have gleaned many valuable tips from it. For example - she says we all have 15 minutes each day to declutter something. Usually I am able to spend 15 minutes cleaning my home. So I SET THE TIMER !!! and stop when it goes off. I choose a realistic task - I do not open big cans of worms! That only discourages. I save the cans of worms for when my daughter can do the bulk of the work with me directing. Sometimes I'm able to set the timer a few times during the day and get more done. Whatever the case, I always do my best and it always boosts my spirit knowing I accomplished something.

            I actually have a list on my fridge with "15 minute jobs" ... it's always fun to cross one off My daughter works on this list too.

            Besides that, the flylady sends emails every day with things to work on in your home. If I have the energy, I'll set the timer for 10-20 minutes (depending on how I feel) and do my best to accomplish the task. She sends several emails a day ... which are usually inspiring and encouraging, but sometimes annoying

            There is a lot more I appreciate about the flylady but I'll stop there.

            So, you can probably guess that another way I save energy is by having the best support system. I'm honestly so sorry for those who do not have this!!

            Organizing ... I am a single mom with two young-adult children still at home. We run a small organic homestead, my son works full time to support us, and my daughter fills in her days by helping the elderly. I started a binder system a few years ago and have been refining it ever since. Basically, I have a separate binder for things ... like "garden", "chickens", "goats", "other livestock", "food preservation", "vehicles", "music", "sewing", "health and hygiene", etc. Notes, records, receipts, etc, go into the appropriate binder. For example, I like to make as much as I can from scratch, so my favorite lotion, soap, and shampoo recipes go into the health and hygiene binder. Or we can and dehydrate a lot of garden produce each year (but now I usually just direct my daughter and her friends) - I keep records of what we process, the recipe we used, the method, amount, etc. in the food preservation binder.

            Calendars, phone alarms, lists on the fridge.

            Ask for help! I am just now within the last year really getting a grip on how crucial it is for me to ask for help. I like how a few of you mentioned hiring a cleaner. It'd be great if you had a dear friend with time and the heart to do it for free, but again we must choose our battles! If I didn't have such an awesome support system I'd definitely be hiring outside help.

            My daughter does most of the shopping. If I have to go I ride the buggy thing. I drive one day a week if I'm able - sunday is a very low-key day in our small town, so I feel comfortable driving to church. (Both children have other things they do before and after church so we all drive separate.) Driving wears me out - both physically and mentally.

            I'm sure there's so much more but I'll have to post again if I think of anything.

            Not officially diagnosed due to non-MS-specific spots on MRIs, but the neurologists all agree it's MS.
            Frustrated. January 2019: finally saw an MS specialist worth seeing. Maybe we'll get to the bottom of this.
            EDSS of 5.5, sometimes 6.0


              This is a great topic. I have gotten some good tips that I will try. My neuro told me at the beginning of this MS journey to think of my energy as money. If I only have $20 of energy to spend in a day, spend wisely! That advice has served me well.

              Here are some of my energy savers:

              1. I cook ahead and freeze meals as often as I can

              2. I use my phone for reminders (meds, appointments, birthdays, etc) and memos to myself.

              3. I try dedicate an hour or so when I get home from work to do a few chores like empty the dishwasher, do a load of laundry, general picking up around the house. I realize I can no longer clean the whole house all in one day or all by myself. I ask for help when I can't do it. on days I don't have the energy, I rest instead of pushing through.

              4. I have most of my bills on auto pay

              5. I get my work clothes ready for the week on Sunday evening. Saves time and energy

              6. I try to stick to a regular bedtime routine to help with sleep.

              7. When I need it, I ask for help and I don't feel guilty about it

              8. I give into the fatigue when it's bad. Naps are my friend......

              Hope these are helpful!
              RRMS: Diagnosed July 2013
              Assistive Device: cane.
              Meds: Copaxone, Ampyra, Vitamin D


                Me too

                I have a wonderful housekeeper who is now coming 2 times a month. I am an organized person at base, "a place tor everything and everything in it's place" and that has served me well as the MS has progressed. I find that a daily nap is a life saver. I set a timer (once it was only for 15 min. now it is 40 min) but with the timer set I have no worry about over sleeping. I use my walker in the house, which allows me to move more quickly and securely(trying for 0 falls each month)and carry things on the seat (great way to get the laundry basket to the garage). I just got a folding scooter for outside so we will see. I have used a walking stick for many years, looks much cooler than a cane. I still drive and always use the placard to park.



                  Your ideas are great. Went t.o the site
                  Still need more ideas as I have no one to help.


                    Had overnight company -- Here for several meals

                    I was relieved that my disabilities did not impact my abilities to the extent that I was unable to entertain friends and enjoy them. There are ways to conserve energy and stay organized that make those events possible, especially with the help from my husband, my housekeeper and my neighborhood restaurants.

                    They were friends from my early adulthood / college and post-college years -- 30+ years ago. They were on their way, from Canada, through our community, in Kansas, to Texas to visit a relative. A 32-hour trip one-way, so our home was a good alternative to one of their motel stops that would have been necessary. I was glad that they were able to spend an entire evening and a half a day with us, in addition to the three meals.

                    Worked out well that they arrived on Monday evening, just after my Monday afternoon clean that happens twice per month. Housekeeper had already made bed in spare BR with clean bedding following visit from my daughter and son-in-law just several weeks ago. After he finished cleaning the house, my husband opened and prepared the hide-a-bed in the family room for the second couple.

                    For Monday supper,
                    • I baked German sausage in the oven
                    • I put two large cans of baked beans into the crockpot and added some barbeque sauce
                    • I purchased food items from some local restaurants / bakeries that cater:
                      • potato salad from Moxie's Grill
                      • coleslaw from Le-J's Barbeque (I "gourmet-ed" it up by adding grapes and walnuts)
                      • Mennonite zwiebach (a German yeast-bread roll formed from two pieces of dough that are pulled apart when eaten) from The Bread Basket

                    • Pickle spears on the side.
                    • Choice of several flavors of ice cream for dessert

                    Was really very little work, except for the shopping, and that was OK; I enjoy getting out of the house.

                    Quick bread, also purchased from The Bread Basket, was available for an evening snack while we played a card game.

                    Breakfast was simply a choice of some breakfast cereals, fresh fruit, yogurts and toast (bread was home-made-like from The Bread Basket as well).

                    In the morning, I gave my two women friends a tour of our community and the guys stayed home and did "guy things" (ie: fixed a motorcycle, etc). I was happy, but exhausted on arriving home after two hours. I'd put over 4000 steps on my pedometer, which is a lot for me.

                    I'd planned an even easier meal for Tuesday lunch than Monday supper.
                    • One spinach pizza from Schwan's in the freezer
                    • I sent my husband to Genova's italian restaurant to pick up two awesome pizzas for people who might not appreciate my weird spinach pizza -- Genova's pizza is much better than Pizza Hut.

                    After a 15 minute rest for my poor tired body, while my husband was picking up the pizza,
                    • I threw a bag of iceberg lettuce salad together with a bag of spinach salad and added some cherry tomatoes. Put a choice of dressings on the table.
                    • Bowl of baby carrots.

                    We had an awesome time. Our home isn't fancy and my meals were simple, but they seemed appreciative of my attempts at hospitality. I was grateful for my husband's assistance. It was the first time he'd met one of the guys, and although he'd only met the other a few times, they they had a lot in common and were both looking forward to conversations about mutual interests.
                    Edit -- I initially posted this in 2016, almost two years ago. I would be unable to do some of the things that I did in the past, including the shopping. (Unless I used the store scooter thing. Hubby usually shops, but I've tried this for a few things recently. It might make it workable for me to do more grocery shopping.)
                    Last edited by Mamabug; 05-27-2018, 05:26 PM. Reason: Things have changed.
                    ~ Faith
                    MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
                    (now a Mimibug)

                    Symptoms began in JAN02
                    - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
                    - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08

                    - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
                    - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.


                      I love reading these tips! Mine are really simple. I'll cut up veggies all at once and keep them in the fridge for when I need them. Also, cook the whole pack of chicken/meat and keep them in the freezer so they're already cooked, just have to defrost them, add spices and heat up.

                      I look forward to seeing more tips as they are great, learned a lot from reading them.
                      RRMS 2005, Copaxone since 2007
                      "I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am."


                        Manageable tasks

                        Rather than hire a housekeeper, I bought a Roomba vacuum and it goes places my regular vacuum can't reach, and it saves me SOOOO much energy. I use a Webster to clean baseboards. Fortunately my condo doesn't get very dirty.

                        My to-do list is broken down into manageable tasks. Rather than just "Do laundry," I write Wash clothes, Dry clothes, and Fold clothes. Instead of "Clean living room" I write Dust shelves, Clear off coffee table, etc. That way I can cross something off my list even if I don't get to everything.

                        If I have activities for four days in a row, I decide which of the two in the middle days I can skip so as to conserve energy.


                          Link to a related thread

                          jjs recently started this thread. Even though this Topic of the Month is old, I thought it might be a good place to post a link to jjs's thread, since they seem to cover similar topics.

                          ~ Faith
                          MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
                          (now a Mimibug)

                          Symptoms began in JAN02
                          - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
                          - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08

                          - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
                          - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.