For the past 48 weeks, I have kept track of every single activity that I do using the method outlined in this post. When I started, I took the time to assign each activity in my life a numerical quantity. This allows me to quantify all of the activities I do in a given day, week, or month and better pace myself.
Through this method, I have greatly reduced the number of major flares I experience. It helps me plan out my week and ensure that I do not overschedule myself. As I have said in previous posts, I highly recommend this system for anyone who experiences chronic pain to help with careful pacing.
Today I had a little fun with my chart. Because I have numerical symbols of all my activities, I was able to do some simple calculations to give a picture of what a week in the life of chronic pain looks like.
From the chart below you can see how I spend my time and the percentage of my points that I put towards various activities in my life.
Almost half (49.33%) of my points go towards work, including my commute back and forth. The next biggest slice of my life (19.24%) is put towards PT and gentle exercise to prevent deconditioning and relapse. Next comes essential chores such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning, which accounts for 14.92% of all that I do each week. And the final two ways I use my points are for going to church on Sunday (9.52% of my week) and showers/getting ready (7.62% of my week).
This chart counts for every single activity I do in an average week. There is nothing left for me to sneak into the cracks. I don’t’ have wiggle room if I want to maintain my current work schedule. Currently I don’t have any points leftover in my week to go do things with friends or do anything extra that I enjoy. I am not saying this to complain, because I am beyond thankful for how much I am able to do at the moment, but simply to give a picture of the life of someone with moderate pain. I know that people with more severe pain would have a much more limited chart.
The biggest surprise in calculating how I spend my week was how much of my energy I put towards PT and gentle exercise (walking around the block). I had not realized this was my second biggest way I use my points each week. It feels like put so much energy towards this simply to stay where I am.
I am curious what a chart would look like for the average person. I think the percentages would be different. Also, I think it is important to remember that this chart simply shows percentages and does not show how limited my total points are compared to a healthy individual. A healthy individual may perhaps have similar percentages, but would obviously be doing way more of each category.
What do you think your percentages look like?