Part of pacing is changing how you are active. You can improve by integrating the following activity adjustments into your life.
Reduce Activity Level By Prioritizing
The primary strategy for adjusting to limits is to reduce your overall activity level by setting priorities and then using some combination of delegating, simplifying and eliminating. Setting priorities gives you a way to answer the question: what should I do when I can't do it all?
To set priorities, first list the activities you do in a typical week, making an estimate of the time each takes. Second, add up the times and compare them with the limits you established when you placed yourself on the Rating Scale.
If items on your list take more time than your limits allow (for example, you would like to have six hours a day of activity, but your body allows four), you will have to make some adjustments in order to stay inside your energy envelope.
Third, decide what activities you will keep and which ones will be modified or dropped. To help you decide, you might give your activities different priorities, such as A, B and C.
Delegating means finding someone else to do a task that you used to do. For example, have other family members do the grocery shopping or hire a cleaning service. Simplifying means continuing to do something, but in a less elaborate or complete way. For example, you might clean house less often or cook less complicated meals. Finally, you may decide to eliminate some activities entirely.
Set Limits for Individual Activities
Another strategy is to set limits on particular activities. This can mean that you stop doing some things entirely or that you reduce the amount of time you spend doing something so you stop before your symptoms intensify.
For example, you may set limits on how long you stand, how long or how far you drive, how long you spend on the computer or the phone, the time you spend socializing, how far from home you will travel, and how long you will spend doing housework.
You can find your limits by experimenting and then enforce your limits by using a timer.
Use Short Activity Periods
You can also affect your symptoms by adjusting how you are active. Two short periods of work with a break in between can produce more and leave you feeling less symptomatic than the same amount of time expended in one block.
For example, you might do ten minutes of housecleaning, rest for five minutes, then do another ten minutes of cleaning.
Practice Activity Shifting
Another strategy for getting more done with lower symptoms is to shift frequently from among physical, mental and social activities. For example, if you find yourself tired or confused after working on the computer for a while, you might stop and call a friend or do something physical like preparing food.
Another way to use task switching is to divide your activities into different categories of difficulty (light, moderate and heavy), switch frequently among different types and schedule only a few of the most taxing activities each day.
Use the Rule of Substitution (Pigs at a Trough)
If something unanticipated arises, think substitution rather than addition: in order to add a new item to your schedule, drop one.
For example, if your envelope allows you to leave the house three times a week and something new arises, find a way to postpone one of the usual outings in order to honor your “three trips a week” limit. The new activity squeezes in by forcing another activity out, just like pigs at a trough.