Routines after Stroke are Crucial

Daily Planning 

Limited energy and poor short-term memory due to stroke make being productive very difficult. Proper planning and consistent routines make accomplishing daily tasks much easier.I’ve always been a general planner, mapping out what I want to accomplish for the year, month, week or day. I’d be very flexible with my plans. Not anymore. Since the stroke, I have to create detailed plans and routines in order to accomplish anything.

I need them to remember and to create the proper mindset to complete the tasks. I have a routine (order of steps) for every task.

Interrupted Routines

When I’m sidetracked from the next task, it doesn’t get done. Whether it’s a task in my daily routine or a step in a task, it’s rescheduled or forgotten, usually forgotten.

I plan the littlest things like eating breakfast & lunch; otherwise I forget, can’t decide what I want, or just don’t feel like preparing it. I even have timeframes. If I forget to do a morning task or was sidetracked, it waits till the next day, even if I have time available.

Even in the shower I have a routine. Wash & shave armpits, shave calves, wash body (I have a routine for order of body parts washed too), wash face, wash hair, comb conditioner through hair, rinse, grab towel & exit to start post-shower routine. If I do one-step out-of-order, all the steps between the two I did are forgotten until the next time.

Out of the Ordinary

I plan the order of my day the night before, believing I have allowed time for changes or exhaustion.  Regardless of my thoroughness, nearly every day my plan is majorly derailed. I’ll get involved in something out of the ordinary (unplanned & irregular). This leaves many tasks unfinished. 

When something unplanned is added, something planned must be removed. Pre-stroke I could always stay up later to finish a task and routines weren’t necessary so I easily readjusted.

Drop Everything

Out of the ordinary appears to be my specialty. I thrive when I’m busy with something new, whether it be learning, having an in-depth discussion, helping someone, or dealing with a new personal issue. Although, I’m a huge procrastinator when it comes to dealing with a necessary personal irregular task.

I’m the kind of person who knows a little about everything. I mean a tiny bit. People tend to think I know much more than I do and come to me for help.  I drop everything to be of service.

If I have no idea what someone’s talking about, I’ll ask for details and then dig deeper until I understand. I’m also a quick learner when it comes to technology.

I investigate things I’m not even interested in, just to understand and be helpful. I look up words I never heard of even though I somewhat understand due to context.

Most of the time though, mention something to me and most likely I’ll respond with, “yeah, I remember seeing an article about that”. I won’t have the details but I’ll remember just enough to know how/where to find more information or figure out how to use the app they’re talking about or help them accomplish whatever they are trying to accomplish.

Sometimes out of the ordinary is just a long phone call.


Sometimes I’ll moan that I didn’t come close to completing what I wanted for the day, but the truth is,

i love it

I’m starting to believe that my purpose in life is to help others and learn.

The only time I feel I can continue to live this way is when I’m doing both. I was like this before stroke too but didn’t realize how much it was “me”.

I don’t even need to wait for someone to ask. I have a hard time restraining myself from jumping in to help without being asked. So for those of you I’ve overstepped with, I’m sorry. I hope you know I have the best intentions and you can just tell me to shut up, I won’t be offended. I completely realize I have this problem.

Well unless you’re my sister, who always asks but never believes me and has to double or triple check everything I say. After 39 years (today) she’s never proved me wrong. But still, she triple checks. Sometimes she’ll even tell me about something “new” she discovered. “New” – yeah, right………

What she won’t accept is that I won’t say something I’m not pretty sure of. If I don’t know anything or am unsure about the correct information, I’ll say I don’t know or I’m unsure. Then I’ll find out.

Yesterday I had 3 out of the ordinary things distract me.

1. I met someone new online and spent time getting to know them better; it was very enjoyable.

2. I had a long phone call comforting someone else; not so much fun.

3. My sister called looking for some answers about a topic I do understand, actually too well. However, instead of providing detailed info, I tried something new and just pointed her to a resource. After she checked it out for herself, we discussed it a little more; it was interesting.

I’m working on not sticking my nose where it wasn’t invited but I’m not succeeding very well. Maybe one day………

I’m really not succeeding – I just did it again- in the middle of writing this! Grrrrr (when will I learn)

I have 2 monitors so I usually have Facebook open on one (in case someone wants to chat), while I work on something else. I saw someone struggling to accomplish something on Facebook & jumped right in with some guidance. 30 minutes later, I’m back on task, for now…

No wonder I have so many unfinished posts and post so randomly.

I’m starting to believe I find “out of the ordinary” distractions so often because I subconsciously look for them. Just because I need routines, doesn’t mean I enjoy them.

Do you need daily routines to accomplish tasks?

Till next time - Have Wonderful Days - Leslie




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2 Responses to Routines after Stroke are Crucial

  1. Barb Polan October 30, 2015 at 7:43 am #

    Yes, I am much better off sticking to routines because, otherwise I feel I’ve lost something or messed up in some way. If I follow my routine at the pool, I won’t lose my keys or anything because they each have a specific spot in my locker. Same locker every day so that I don’t have to remember the number,Etc. I have less anxiety if I have a routine. I’m not easily distracted though, although I think my husband would disagree. And I’ve always been a list-maker – lists help ground me when my brain goes into idle mode.

    • Leslie October 30, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      It’s the opposite here. I have to convince my family I’m easily distracted. They think my mind is just fine and that I can multitask as easily as before without losing anything in the process.

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