Older workerNow that I’m in my eighties, and officially a “senior,” I suppose I should spend more time on time management for seniors and in particular how to cope with the side effects of aging and still maintain our productivity. There may be certain barriers that we have to overcome as we grow older, but if we continue to look after our body, mind and spirit, our personal productivity and fulfilment can continue to increase.
As you get older, you are more easily distracted. That’s a fact. So the “quiet hour” concept is of particular importance. I work more efficiently in coffee shops, where the ambient noise has been proven to be conducive to increased creativity. But some seniors work better in complete solitude, so experiment a little.
As you grow older, it’s even more important that you don’t try to multitask. “Do significant tasks one at a time and eliminate distractions,” advises Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz. Multitasking is difficult regardless of your age, and I don’t recommend it to anyone. But for older people it becomes virtually impossible without cutting your efficiency in half. So do one thing at a time.
80% of people over 85 experience hearing loss. Only 16% of those with hearing problems have hearing aids – and only 8% actually use them. If you need them, use them. Stick with them for at least six months giving up on them. They can make a big difference – and nowadays they are hardly visible if you feel self-conscious about wearing them.
50% of seniors over 75 have cataracts, and 20 to 30% of people over 75 have impaired vision, so keep your vision sharp. That’s possible through prescription glasses, cataract surgery or both. Having worn glasses all my life, my vision is now better without glasses than it ever was with glasses.
Also, the ability of your eyes to adapt to a dark room can be delayed several fold; but that’s no big deal. Have nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom and halls. I have nightlights in about every room there is in my condo. When you’re older you tend to get up more at night as well, and the dim lighting comes in handy.
Seniors generally need good lighting. As we age, our eyes process only about 1/3 of the light – so lights need to be about 3 times brighter. And of course you could have trouble reading small print or thin fonts. So labels on your file folders should be large & bold.
Because of failing eyesight and “floaters”, high gloss surfaces may give you problems. The light bounces off these “floaters.” So avoid glare. Use matte finish on materials. Peripheral vision may also affected ; materials at your work station should be within a 90 degree radius as opposed to 180.
Stress is everyone’s enemy; but it is particularly harmful to seniors because our immune system is not usually as strong. Research shows that one of the most effective ways of neutralizing the negative effects of stress is to have social networks. Activities with other people are like a mental medicine. That could be playing cards, golf, shopping or just plain chatting. So don’t make it all work and no play.
You could join chat rooms and participate in social networks such as Twitter – in addition to exchanging emails with family and friends. But remember that one-on-one personal relationships are healthier.
A sense of control is particularly important for seniors in order to keep stress at bay. That’s why time management, organization and structure is so important. Always control your technology and your life as long as you are able.
Scientists tell us that brain speed is also reduced; we don’t think or react as quickly when we age; but that depends on the individuals, and how active they are, both mentally and physically. An older brain can continue to grow new cells and connections through activities such as continuous learning, walking, mind games and variety in your life.
Research also revealed that seniors absorbed more facts during memory tests and were 30% better at using the information later. In other words, we make better decisions. We have also more experience to draw upon, larger networks, and usually well-established businesses, hobbies and recreational interests. So don’t let any of the negative comments about seniors distract you from achieving your full potential.