Question Time: Shortcuts

Question Time is a series in which we open up the floor to you, commenters. We invite you to share as you feel comfortable.

Are there any “shortcuts” to save time/energy/et cetera that you make use of in daily life? How did you discover or hear about them? How do they help with your condition(s), if at all?

About Annaham

Annaham (they/them) is a feminist with several disabilities who occasionally updates their personal blog. They currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area with their partner, and an extremely spoiled Yorkie/Pom mix named Sushi. You can reach them by emailing hamdotblog AT gmail dot com.

14 thoughts on “Question Time: Shortcuts

  1. I keep a bottle of water in my bed so I don’t have to get up during the night (my mouth gets really dry and my sinuses get stuffy while I sleep). It lets me get back to sleep much more easily.

  2. The computer is my shortcut for helping me deal with my LDs. I can carry it to class and take my notes on it, which enables me to be able to read the notes and saves me a great deal of hand pain. An educational psychologist suggested it and I am so grateful to live in a time when computers are transportable.

  3. Whenever I can, I buy anything and everything I need to buy, online. Opening the door to accept a package costs me way less than having to go out and buy the stuff in fleshlife.

    So yeah, related to that: internet banking and the various ways of paying for stuff over the internet.

  4. This one is challenging for me to think about because pretty much my entire life is finding shortcuts and it’s so routine now.

    @cathy mentioned keeping a water bottle in bed. My sofa is my main spot when I’m awake – I go there after getting out of bed to wake up, take most of my rests there, do a lot of my activities from there, eat meals there, etc.
    So I keep lots of things handy there in various sized baskets that can be shoved away for space or pulled closer as I need them including: all of my meds and supplements, chapstick and nail clippers and lotion etc., snack foods that aren’t perishable, seasonings I most often add to foods as I’m eating like garlic powder and black pepper as well as soy sauce, napkins, tissue, toys and games to play/with, craft supplies of various types, a pack of cards for solitaire playing, letter writing supplies, whatever books I might be currently reading, notebooks and pens for list making and to jot down reminders, etc.

    I’ve found it’s a lot easier to keep my spaces clean and organized if I remember to pick up one thing, or a handful of things if possible, when I get up. So, if I’m going to the kitchen to make some lunch, I bring all the dirty dishes back with me from any previous meals or snacks. That way I don’t have to gather up the energy to do both the meal prep and the cleaning for two separate trips.

    Combining tasks is a great short-cut. When someone offers to take me on an errand, I always ask if we can stop at any other places I’ll be needing to go soon so that I can kill all those tasks with one stone. On the one hand, it’s more exhausting to do so much in one day. On the other hand, it’s fewer days I have to get up and leave the house and run errands!

    Email is a wonderful shortcut for me if I can email someone instead of calling them. Phone calls take way more spoons away from me than emailing or other internet exchanges, so that’s a HUGE short-cut for me. Pop off the info I need to send in mere minutes vs. ending up stuck on the phone for an hour (or conversely letting things go way too long because I just haven’t had the energy to use the phone!)

    Bathing shortcuts – if I just can’t make it to the shower but need to be clean, baby wipes make a nice temporary substitute to bathing. It takes a bit less energy to clean myself up that way and it tends to be less traumatic for me emotionally to get clean that way than to shower.

    I keep multiples of certain things around the apartment so I don’t have to get up if I need them: for example there are two boxes of tissues in the living room – one by my computer and one by the sofa, then one in my bedroom, and of course tp works in the bathroom and paper towel in the kitchen. I have a pair of scissors in every room of the house, pads of paper and pens in several key places for messages/reminders/lists.

    We won’t get into what my purse looks like so that I can make sure I always have what I need on hand when I’m out of the house and will never have to make a side trip somewhere just to get something.

  5. Yes Norah, I buy many things online, too, but I’m not yet really good with it. For me, it’s more of a mobility thing: I don’t know how to get to stores without help. But for me, online shopping is still a hassle, too.

  6. Like Norah says, online shopping is excellent for me. Especially grocery shopping – recently discovering Sainsbury’s home delivery has been amazing, as it used to take me an entire day to do my shopping, what with the getting there and back on a combination of buses and walking, dizzily wandering around the store having to go past each aisle several times because I kept forgetting everything, and being completely exhausted after I got back. It makes a world of difference to have that extra day of time every week!

  7. Technology is my energy-saving world. In particular, my phone that runs Android software and all manner of handy applications is just fab. I can organize my life and keep in touch with the world this way. And I lose a lot less energy through dyspraxic disorganization – forgetting things, missed appts, double booking myself and the like – than I used to.

    Other energy-saving devices: mobility aids, bath lift, simple folding-stool-with-high-back in the kitchen, cheap bed table (which flips up so I can read lying down), remote controlled telly!

  8. Astrid: Online shopping is easier for me now than it was when I started (also when I started, online shopping hadn’t been around for that long and the payment options were very limited). Especially with clothes; in the beginning I ended up with a lot of wrong sizes or very bad fits, but I sort of seem to have developed a sense for it now (it’s not just paying close attention to sizing guidelines and memorising your own measurements, but something more. That was hard enough though, with all the numbers to begin with and then the gazillion different systems they use). But you probably also face a different and/or extra set of difficulties.

    I do a part of food supply online now too, though we still don’t have a cheap supermarket that delivers (if we want that delivered we’re stuck with an expensive one and a minimum order of 60 euros each time, no go).

    I also feel like I often don’t take a shortcut, but instead a long way around to save resources, because that’s easier for me. The way my dentist is still in my old town because it’s actually less stressful for me to travel all the way there than deal with a new one, and being able to go to the supermarket on my own in my old town, but still need someone with me here.

  9. Because I love to cook and often lack the spoons for it (but don’t think I let that stop me! she who has trouble recognizing her limits sometimes) I search for ways to cut corners when I cook, with semi-homemade short cuts. I even enjoy baking cookies, bad feminist that I am 😉 and have a whole cookbook dedicated to the art of cheatery baking. It saves me tons of time and energy.

  10. Don’t know if this is what you mean, but I have a separate bottle of painkillers and a bottle of water that I keep by the bed permanently, so I won’t have to get up and go find my meds if I wake up in pain in the night, and they’re there ready in the morning when I need them. I also set an alarm an hour and a half before I need to get up, so I can take my painkillers and then go back to sleep, so they can kick in before I have to try and get up – this has made a world of difference to my mornings.

    I’ve got a fold-up walking stick that fits in my bag which I keep with me when I’m going through a bad patch, so if I need it any point it’s there, but I don’t have to carry a big obvious stick around all the time when I don’t really need it, just in case I will later. Has made it easier to be impulsive, too, not having to plan out exactly how long I plan to be out of the house and figure out whether a stick is needed or not. I’ve got a little cushion I made that smushes up small enough to fit in my bag too, which I bring with me if there’s a chance I’m going to have to sit down somewhere, as I never know if there’s going to be proper back support (there usually isn’t) and it can make the difference between cope-with-able pain and having to go home ’cause it’s just not worth it.

  11. I, too, keep water by my bed, in the very headboard itself. Two bottles that I regularly wash in the dishwasher (OMG, I love dishwashers, thank you, grandparents!). One is a 16 oz. bottle; the other is a 36 oz. bottle. I drain and refill them both once each night.

    I also keep my pain meds next to my water bottles, even the regular ones like ibuprofen (for headaches which, oddly enough, my huge dose of oxycodone doesn’t touch)

    I don’t know if this third thing is just laziness, slovenliness, or helpful, but I just throw my jeans on top of my chest of drawers and grab the pair I want off the pile. No bending over to put things in drawers, which hurts like fuck. I also hang everything else up in the closet to avoid bending.

    The carry-outs at our tiny little grocery store are a godssend. They carry my bags to my car without having to be asked; I always joke with them about how they need to ride home with me to carry in and unload everything. I would so tip them. I hate carrying grocery bags (eco-friendly ones, of course!). They’re always five pounds heavier than they look. Sigh.

    A small, but powerful thing my sister does for me: she always turns off the space heater for me at night. It hurts so bad to lean down there and press the button, so she does it, saving me that one tiny burst of pain. Love her for that.

  12. Two “shortcuts” I need to get – a TV with a remote (and one that’s not 10 years old and randomly turns off) and a bigger water bottle. I don’t know the volume of the current one, but it’s not enough.

    One shortcut I thought of today is school related. Even when I don’t need a book or paper, I still carry my backpack. It used to be so I could have my fan (doesn’t quite fit in my purse) so I could, you know, function when the heat was on. Well, it doesn’t work anymore.

    Now I carry a pair of shorts (no holes) and a hair clip. I have thick hair and when I’m hot, it doesn’t help. (But I’m vain and I don’t want short hair!) I change before class and it’s a full on ritual. I take off my jacket, put down my purse and backpack, take out my shorts, grab my purse, go to the bathroom and change (without falling or touching the ground), come back, and put my hair up.

    Only my hair clip didn’t take the abuse so well and I had to toss it. And it wasn’t even one I’d taken from my sister.

    My shorts are always with me during the school day, and that came in handy yesterday (Friday) at PT. I came straight from class to PT, with a quick walk to a cab in between. I was flushed, my heart was racing, I was overheated. I said something like normally I’d put on shorts and then DING! I’ve got shorts in my backpack! (They had clips, but they were too tiny for my hair, so we used ice packs on my neck – most surreal – ice pack on neck, heating pad on stomach.)

    So a “short”cut.

  13. Mine are for getting to work on time, because being late adds to my stress. I take the bus, and sometimes it comes down to a choice between brushing my teeth at home, or taking the bus that will get me to work on time–so now I keep a toothbrush and toothpaste at work too, so I can still take that bus.

    I also have very quick ways of doing my hair, for days when I need to save a few minutes. I keep my hair long, partly because I like it and partly to save money on haircuts, and if I braid it or put it up in a bun I can get by without brushing my hair if need be.

    Not a shortcut but very much an aid anyway: online bill pay. It’s a huge relief to me to know that even when I’m depressed my bills are still being paid on time (because that hasn’t always been the case, and it sucked–perhaps even worse because I didn’t yet know it was depression).

  14. Like most of the other posters, my water bottle lives on the bed with me, my tea bottle lives right next to the bed, and my laptop is my saving grace. This semester especially, since I’ve figured out that it takes fewer spoons to take the laptop with me to class to take notes (even though it’s heavier) than it does to take notes in a notebook. Apparently, it doesn’t harm my brain as much when the migraines are bad.

    I also keep protein bars in my room for the really fun moments, like when I have to take a med that requires food and yet there is no possible way I’m walking down the hall to the microwave.

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