Being Prepared Can Help Us Succeed

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by Jamie Hughes |

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This week, my sons returned to school. Both are now in middle school, and let me tell you, this freaks me out deeply as a mother.

When we adopted them, the younger boy was only beginning kindergarten, and today, I sent him into the unknown hallways of sixth grade. (Granted, his older brother, who is starting eighth grade, was by his side, but still. My own middle school trauma remains fresh in my mind.) I couldn’t really control whatever happened on his first day — either the good stuff or the bad. But I could manage certain things.

For instance, they’re not allowed to use lockers this year due to crowding in the hallways. (Thanks again, COVID-19!) So, instead of standard, over-the-shoulder backpacks, I sprang for the ones on wheels. Hopefully, this will save their little spines and make hauling materials around a little easier. I also made sure to drop off their homeroom supplies during orientation, so they’d have fewer things to drag behind them today.

Preparation and MS / Multiple Sclerosis News Today / Photo of boys' backpacks

A couple of well-stocked and fashionable backpacks. (Photo by Jamie A. Hughes)

Last night, I spent a few minutes getting their clothing laid out and pressed, their backpacks ready, and their water bottles on the counter ready to be filled. All of this took a little preparation, but man oh man was this morning an absolute breeze as a result.

We still got up early in case I hadn’t thought of something, but that just meant we got to take our time eating breakfast together as a family. (And my husband made us all French toast, which was a super yummy reward in and of itself.) We got them there a little ahead of schedule, and they looked pretty great, too, if I do say so myself.

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Multiple sclerosis is a very unpredictable condition, so thinking ahead and being ready for every eventuality is always a good idea. After all, solid planning helps decrease stress and save money — both good things. However, living a good life is not about merely surviving. We all want to thrive, so it’s worth taking a few extra steps to stay nimble and ready for whatever comes our way, either personally or professionally.

According to Dr. Kamran Akbarzadeh, founder of the Dream Achievers Academy, “Planning ahead is an important aspect of [the] dream achieving process. By planning ahead, you become proactive and foresee issues or roadblocks that may come your way and therefore plan the actions to avoid the roadblocks or face them confidently.”

I can think of no better reason to be proactive as an MS patient. Roadblocks aren’t an “if” with us but a “when,” and I for one refuse to let my disease dictate any more of my life than it already has. If a little planning and forethought can prevent that, count me in.

If you’re not a planner by nature like I am, fear not. There are tons of great websites and books out there that can help give you ideas to get started and encourage you as you grow in this area of your life. The Startup, for example, discusses many great techniques I’ve put to good use over the years: simplification, the time management matrix, and the Kaizen principle, just to name a few. All of these are great tools to help you figure out what is most important, how to streamline life to make it easier to accomplish those important things, and how to help yourself become a little better at it each day.

Being prepared and on top of things won’t always guarantee life will be all sunshine and gummy bears, but I can tell you from experience that a little bit of planning and thinking ahead has made my life (and my family’s) so much healthier and more enjoyable.

How can you begin incorporating some of these ideas into your own life? Start small! Try a few ideas, and if they don’t really pan out, go back and try another one. In time, you’ll find what truly works for you. Tell me about it in the comments. I’d love to hear about your experiences and learn from them.

Preparation and MS / Multiple Sclerosis News Today / Photo of boys heading into middle school

Everyone’s ready for school. (Photo by Jamie A. Hughes)

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

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