7 Easy Time Management Tips for Adults That Are Caregivers.

When my dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, I already had a crazy busy life.  I was working full time, raising kids, taking care of a house, a dog, and my husband… 

Within a few weeks, my entire personal life was flipped upside down.

I had a ridiculous time trying to fit everything into an already packed schedule. 

And I had an even harder time trying to figure out what was important and what could be skipped because EVERYTHING felt catastrophic. (Did I mention I have poor time management skills? Yep, I’m a hot mess).

Do you ever wonder if it really has to be this hard? 

Me too. (Hint:  it doesn’t).

Woman sitting in the garden smiling

If you’re drowning in the chaos of a cancer situation, trying to stay afloat and manage everything…  


But the trick is… it has to be simple.  You have NO TIME for complicated.

Easy Time Management Tips for Caregivers

1. How Can You Keep Everything On Track?

Whether you’re a caregiver, a family struggling through cancer, or even if you have cancer yourself, one thing is for sure…

Figuring out how to keep track of your to-do list during a cancer situation is really intense. 

Your schedule is jam packed with appointments, treatment, and scans… and more are being scheduled every second.

You’re running all over the place, struggling to remember where you need to be, who you need to see, and what you need to bring with you.  

The best way to tackle this is a simple approach that will make the important things crystal clear… 

  • what you need to do. 
  • where you need to be. 
  • how you can make the days as easy as possible.

The Weekly Planning Pages is the best planner I’ve found.  Because it’s the easiest way to get the insanity of a daily schedule under control in less time.  

 And they’re simple.  Like crockpot vs. cooking simple.

These caregiver planner pages are essential for taking the first step to… 

  • Simplifying your schedule.
  • Looking at the big picture.
  • Planning Ahead.
  • Figuring out what you actually need to get done.
  • Deciding specific tasks you can skip.
They’re a foolproof yet flexible system so you know in advance…
  • Where you need to be
  • What you need to do
  • How you can head off as much of the insanity as possible

And having a plan, a real plan to tackle this does wonders for your mental health.

On any given day, your schedule could change 10 times. Your Google calendar is not going to cut it for the insanity of cancer. Get started with a system that was designed for your caregiver life right now.

 The Weekly Planning Pages will keep you on track.  Get them here…

You can also see a complete walkthrough of the Weekly Planning Pages here…

2. Create a Cancer Binder

DIY cancer medical binder

When cancer is involved there is literally an avalanche of information falling around you from every direction… Your stress levels are out of control and phone calls, text messages, urgent tasks, and daily activities require your full attention.

  • Emergency signs and symptoms
  • Important directions
  • Crucial information 

This is life-altering stuff, so you need the correct information and you need it fast. 

Within the first few weeks of my dad’s diagnosis, we had STACKS of paperwork to go through any time we were looking for anything related to cancer. 

And literally everyone was asking us the same questions, over and over. 

So, we took those repeated questions and established a quick and easy system to organize medical information… 

• NO more scrambling around looking through stacks of papers. 

• Forget spending hours trying to find that one date. 

• NO more lost instructions that you desperately need right now. 

The Cancer Binder Pack can help you get organized in less than an hour and stay that way in a matter of minutes. 

As we were learning how to deal with bad news, we were also learning how to get our sh@t together! 

This easy to follow system will save you hours of scrambling around searching for paperwork. We can walk you through the whole system step-by-step so you can do it yourself. 

And the best part, it takes an hour to set up and MINUTES to maintain.

This way, you can avoid the anxiety that comes from not being able to find what you’re looking for and save that stress for something much more important. 

You can get the Cancer Binder Pack For Free here… 

You can also see a complete walkthrough of The Cancer Binder Pack here…

3. Stack appointments

Two women driving in the car.

This is one of those time management techniques that will save you boatloads of time and energy.

My mom and I both see the same cardiologist whose office is about an hour away.  So we stack appointments when we can.  Since we usually stay on the same schedule (every six months) we schedule them on the same day as close together as possible.  

This eliminates me having to run to Albany twice, once for me, once for mommy if we just schedule them together and get it done.  So unless there is some sort of issue that one of us has to be seen for, we just stay on that schedule.

We’ve also done this really successfully with cancer appointments. 

My mom, husband, and father-in-law (who has since passed away) are all receiving care at Memorial Sloan Kettering which is 2 and ½ hours one way.  

Since I’m the primary driver were able to stack appointments for my father-in-law and EITHER my mom or my husband (I’m the primary caregiver for my mom and my husband, so unless we spread the appointments over a few days it got too complicated to try to do all 3 at once).    

This way everyone was able to get what they needed and it resulted in a lot less trips for everyone and definitely for me.  If there were a lot of appointments, we spent the night and scheduled the appointments over the course of a few days.  

Check with your insurance carrier to see if they offer assistance (like travel, accommodations, parking ect.) if you are diagnosed with cancer.  Many insurances will help cover some of these additional costs and even if it’s only a small amount it helps alot.  

It’s worth a call to your insurance company to see if they have anything in place to help with additional expenses.

4. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time 

Before you do your shopping (we cover that next), throw together a quick meal plan for the week and add it to your planning system

It’s a good idea to stick with quick and easy 15-minute meals so you don’t have to spend hours cooking (you can find boatloads of them here…) 

Things like… 

  • Spaghetti and meat sauce. 
  • Crockpot chicken and rice. 
  • Hot dogs and mac and cheese. 
  • Taco’s or Quesadillas 
  • Grilled Cheese or BLT’s
  • Breakfast for Dinner 

Offer fresh salad with every meal and your veggies are covered. Viola!  Dinner is served.

The most effective time management tips for cooking?

Use any tools you might have to expedite things and make clean-up super quick and easy! 

Baking Pans:  Ever heard of a sheet pan dinner?  Everything you need for a full meal (main dish, side dish, vegetables) gets arranged on a sheet pan and tossed in the oven.  You cook it, serve it and you have ONE pan to clean up.  

You can find some great sheet pan dinners to start with here…

Airfryer: The air fryer does all the heavy lifting, meaning you can just toss it in and let it cook.  Main dishes, side dishes, or vegetables will all come out great in an air fryer.  

You can check out some great air fryer recipes here…

Crockpot: Toss dinner in a crockpot and let it cook while you’re running around.  The easiest way to cook when you’re super busy cause you can toss it in and then don’t worry about it.  You can find great recipes for “dump cooking” in a crockpot here…  

Or you can grab ready made crockpot dinners like old fashioned pot roastgrandma’s homemade meatballs, or homemade chicken soup (with noodles or rice) to make life even easier.  

(Don’t forget the Slow Cooker Liners), so you can toss out the mess without all the scrubbing and clean-up) The liners will save you a lot of time and they’re cheap!

Instantpot: Will cook your entire dinner in half the time (they can cook frozen meat in about a half an hour saving you a ton of time and energy.)

You can find some great dinners for the Instantpot here… 

Electric Griddle: Makes cooking things like burgers, eggs, and bacon quick and easy for multiple people. Cooking 2 burgers a piece for 4 people, means two to 3 pans on a stove top. The griddle can cook everything in one shot! 

5. Online Grocery Shopping 

woman odering groceries on her phone with a credit card.

This is about making life easier.

The next step to better time management. Online grocery shopping.

You are going to appreciate time much differently now, mainly because you won’t have as much of it as you used too.  ? 

And while I know getting out of the house to go grocery shopping feels like a vacation (trust me, I get that!)  THIS is even better.  

Because it’s not the shopping that I loved it’s getting out of the house and getting a break.

I live on top of a mountain, so I don’t have a ton of delivery options available to me. But, I can order online and pick up my groceries, so this chore takes me a fraction of the time that it did before.

 What I found was, not only did I cut down on the amount of time I spent, but I also saved a TON of money. Like hundreds of dollars a week, no joke. 

Why? Because I only ordered what I needed, rather than randomly walking through the store tossing things into the cart that the kids or my husband MIGHT like. This one little change saved both time and money (which I desperately needed). 

And because I know HOW MUCH I LOOK forward to getting a break, even if I could do delivery, I would still choose grocery pick-up.  

I get out of the house, drive to the store, grab a coffee, take a walk, and then I grab my groceries. 

 I get the same break, without the actual shopping. Hey, At the end of the day, it’s the little things that matter.

 Bonus:  someone else can grab the groceries for me if things get crazy.  Which they do sometimes.  

6. Create a Go Bag

This is one of the best pieces of advice I can offer you and a good use of your time! Because it came in handy countless times throughout our journey. 

Cancer comes with a lot of emergency situations and there will be times where you have to drop and run within minutes. I may need to sleep at my parent’s house, spend the night in the E.R. or sleep in the hospital if we’re admitted.

 And there’s not a whole lot of warning before I have to leave, or much time to put things together. 

At the beginning of our cancer journey, I spent 2 weeks in a NYC hospital when my dad was admitted.  I was 2 hours away from home with only the clothes on my back.  You may have seen me buying socks and underwear at the Duane Reade.  

So, for that reason, I ALWAYS have a bookbag packed and ready to go with… 
  • Change of clothes 
  • 3 t-shirts 
  • Yoga pants
  • Extra socks and underwear 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Hairbrush 
  • Deodorant 
  • Travel size shampoo and body wash 
  • Cleansing facial wipes 
  • Dry shampoo (just in case) 
  • Advil (or a few days of any prescribed medication) 
  • Extra phone charger (that just stays in the bag)
  • Deck of playing cards 
  • Cash (like $30 in case I can’t use my card) 
  • Notebook and a pen 

Everything you need to get through a few days is already packed in that bag and you are ready to move at a moment’s notice. 

One of the best things about this tip, you can just grab the bag and go. 

We have a complete walkthrough of the hospital go bag for you and your loved one here…

 7. Leave Enough Time 

white alram clock sitting by the bed.

At some point in your journey, you’ll need extra time. Everything is different! 

You can’t expect to jump out of bed and leave 10 minutes later anymore. You certainly shouldn’t expect your loved one to do that. The exhaustion alone will put a stop to all of that. Especially if you’re not a morning person to begin with.

We used to hit the road within 15 minutes, then at some point in the process we started needing an hour or more to get on the road. We couldn’t rush anymore. 

It just took more time.

You’re going to have to factor that in when you’re figuring out your day. 

Good time management skills wasn’t the easiest thing for us to navigate. But with a few great ways to tackle your challenging tasks, you’ll have better control of your time.

What it really came down to was planning ahead. A  cancer battle can escalate really quickly.  But with a little pre planning and a few small changes the daily life of a caregiver is a whole lot easier. And as a bonus it gives your short breaks, more free time, and a good way to deal with the insanity of cancer. A little bit of work-life balance for caregivers.

P.S. If you have no idea how to deal with a cancer diagnosis, we can help you formulate a plan to SIMPLIFY the complex “stuff” that comes with this disease… 

Finding the best care, talking with your insurance company, finding resources that will actually help, and dealing with the fear, anxiety and overwhelm of this whole situation.

We can’t control the cancer, but we CAN show you how to manage this crisis.   And it’s 100% Free. 

You can get the Cancer Combat Plan FREE here…

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. We only recommend products that we use and LOVE. You can see our full disclosure here for further information.

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

About The Author

Similar Posts