Simple tips to help prepare yourself for returning to work or determine if you should be employed soon Part 2 of 2

15 Jun

If you’ve been off work for some time and believe you are ready to return how do you handle this?  This will take time to figure out: are you ready; how to manage; making a blueprint of the new you; interviewing; and ultimately successful reaching your goals!

Planning, Organizingand Practicing (POP)

Twitter Quiet Time

Start planning every working day now. Everything needs to be organized.   Practice getting dressed and routine activities as though you were going to work.  This will provide you insight of time and energy management.  This process will help prepare for your days ahead of time. It will be a time for adjustments and adapting. Be prepared to practice how your daily routine would be like while at home for a minimum duration of one month. Stay focused on POP, planning organizing, and practicing.

During the planning consider what time of day your highest level of energy and alertness occur.  Make a written plan scheduling how you will accomplish your time goals.  Make this a specific time line.  Organize how you can manage your time in this schedule.  Practice or implement your new schedule.  Ask yourself “does it work for you?” Fine tweak the schedule until it does.  Beware: This can be a very long day.  Ultimately, take care of yourself.


  1. 5:00-6:30 am Breakfast, Wash-up,  Brush Teeth, Make-up/Shave, Dress, Hair.
  2. 6:30-7:15 Travel time to work, arrive 15 minutes early.
  3. 7:30-11:30 Focus on employment tasks.  Do not think or take outside calls while at work.  These can be major distractions.
  4. 11:30-12:15 pm Travel time home.
  5. 12:15-1:00 Nutritious meal.
  6. 1:00-2:30 Rest and nap with total quiet time.
  7. 2:30-3:00  Walk or Exercise
  8. 3:00-5:00 Family quality time. Journal, read or write.
  9. 5:00-6:30 Nutritious meal preparation. Family meal and clean-up.
  10. 6:30-7:30 Family time
  11. 7:30-9:00 Prepare children for bedtime. Begin your own self-care.
  12. 9:00-10:00 Self Personal Hygience-Shower/bathe and shampoo hair
  13. 10:00-11:00 Quiet time, read a magazine or book.
  14. 11:00-5:30 am Minimum of 6 1/2 hours of sleep.

Ask yourself how many days a week you can do a schedule similar to the above example.  This helps with the POP (planning, organizing, and practicing) phase.

Do a task you enjoy and stick with that task.  You want to be employed in something that creates pleasure in your life.  (Think of all the areas, positions you are good in, and list these attributes to help you find the right type of work.)  Spend this time doing a hobby without breaks and set timers to see if you can handle distractions or how you could best handle them.

Do some self-reflection after a few days and see what is working for you and what is not.  Keep a journal so you can adjust your schedule accordingly.  This will help prepare you to meet your personal needs adequately without becoming too overwhelmed.  Do you need rest periods?  If you do how many and long?  Is there a better time of day that might work better for you. Try an alternative time during the day and see if your tolerance is better. Are you a morning, afternoon or evening person?


  • Trial and Error period
  • Know how you plan to accomplish household chores, grocery shopping, meal preparation, family and friend gatherings, etc.

Organize (Photo credit: alborzshawn)


  • Be Prepared
  • Keep Routine
  • Make a place for everything
  • Sort out your clothing on a weekly basis (on a day off for example on Sundays)
  • Don’t drain your brain on choices at the last minute, this can be upsetting and increase your frustration
  • Prepare your meals ahead of time.  Good nutrition helps feed the brain.
  • Take healthy & easy snacks to work.  Examples: Apples, carrots, berries, cheese sticks, almonds (nuts of any sort as long as no one has allergies to nuts), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.  Combine a protein with carbohydrates for a healthy snack (ie: peanut butter on celery; carrots & nuts)  Read nutrition labels.


  • Discover what works
  • Fine tune problem areas in your day
  • Do routine as though you were working & stick to it for a couple weeks
  • What are your best hours, and what can you eliminate to give you more energy
  • Shower, shampoo, shave in evening before bed instead of just before work.  That could zap all your energy, but it might help with rest and relaxation in the evening and a good nights sleep.

How do you feel after working at home for these hours? You might need to change around your hours at home to come up with what I’ll call a “blueprint” of your new self.  What combination of days and hours work best to create your highest level of functioning in a workplace setting without mishap.   That is your unique “blueprint”.

Be honest with yourself & Make a “blueprint” of the New YOU:

new you

new you (Photo credit: Brenda Anderson)

  • What hours are best for you?
  • How many hours do you need to work?
  • How many hours or days can you work?
  • Will you have time for your family or will you be exhausted and irritable?
  • How much time will you have left after giving for everything & everyone else?
  • What time will you get a nap? Go to bed at night?
  • How often can you take rest periods?
  • How many hours of sleep will you get? Don’t ever jeopardize your sleep, this is how your brain repairs itself!  You will set yourself up for failure without proper rest and sleep.
  • When you can’t sleep what will you do? Don’t go to work if you can’t sleep.
  • Divide your precious energy hours accordingly: Personal (self), Family. Social activities, and Work
  • What type of training do they have to offer?
  • Part-time work? Number of days.
  • Off-shifts are usually lower stimuli hours

Ideally: Choose your days and hours you are available.  Anything outside of this is NOT acceptable.  Remember flexibility is difficult.  You know what works for you.  Don’t try and fit something that never works for you.  That will spell a disaster and you want this a positive experience.

Tell your potential employer what days and hours you can work.

  • Make sure if you are hired part-time you aren’t expected to work full-time hours (at least initially when returning to work)
  • Make sure you can organize your clothing for work (if you don’t wear uniforms) for a week’s time so that isn’t something you waste energy on at last minute
  • Plan on bathing or showering and washing hair before sleep so you can arouse & prepare with the next day with minimal personal hygiene tasks

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2 responses to “Simple tips to help prepare yourself for returning to work or determine if you should be employed soon Part 2 of 2

  1. Step On a Crack

    June 15, 2012 at 12:51 am

    You. Thank you SO very much! I can’t tell you how much this means. You are an angel. Bad brain space of late so I am absent, but not in heart.

    You are doing what we need done.

    Bless you my friend!

    XO. Jen

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      June 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      I miss reading your poetry and all, but most of all you need to take care of yourself. Are the graduation festivities complete, or so going on? What an emotional time for you as well. Congratulations on your son’s graduation! Take care and stay safe, Edie


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