Diminishing Returns — Time by R. Ann Parris for PrepperGroups.com
Whether the culprit is age, injury, or illness, one of the major side effects we face is that things take longer.
Some injuries aren’t as bad — or as widespread in effects — but some do start affecting areas outside the injury site, and if we’re on drugs (OTC or prescription, and even some herbal remedies) they, too, can affect us in unexpected ways. Many of them lead to sometimes significant reductions in our speed.
Everything takes longer. Everything.
Our eyes and nervous system slow down. Our thought processing slows down. Our reaction times slow — from how long it takes us to see and recognize something, to the actual physical reactions like how long it takes our eyes to focus and to return to correct light adjustment after darkness or a flash — with the prior points further exacerbating that.
We can’t carry as much in one go, we can’t carry it as far, and we can’t carry it as fast. That also regularly faces compounding issues: Should we find ourselves needing a cane (or two) or with a hand, elbow, shoulder, or back issue, or an inner ear and balance issue, we’re limited further still in how much we can carry at once.
As with pregnancy and aging, some illnesses and some cures for illness and injury (both conventional and homeopathic) affect the speed of our bodily functions, sending us from table or task to toilet more frequently. Some of them speed up one aspect but slow down others, keeping us there not only more often but for longer.
Aging — particularly if we damaged ourselves early, and particularly if we didn’t take care of ourselves afterward — faces its own unique issues as well. Our joints have to “lube up” before we get going for the day, taking more time yet than even our best speed will be. Arthritis locks joints in place, and further reduces the amount of stress and fine work we can handle and, in some cases, totally robs us of the grip and strength we used to have, necessitating tool use that incrementally adds time to our previous tasks. The limitations from arthritis jumps by magnitudes in some seasons and with some tasks, requiring additional time sucks to re-warm our hands or rest our fingers and elbows and wrists before we can even keep going.
Insult to that injury, as with being run down from stress or illness, as we age it takes longer for our bodies to recover, from bruises and small cuts to serious injuries, and from those illnesses. So we’re going to see those diminished returns for longer.
This isn’t just a “getting old and being hurt/sick sucks” litany. There isn’t a cure for those slow downs, but there are things we can do to mitigate them, and there are things we should do to lessen the impacts they’ll have.
Sometimes there are things we can physically prep once we’re aware of the issues.
Some of the specific categories here list other solutions and specific tools that can help alleviate the time sucks that come from diminishing returns, no matter what the cause.
We can also address being slowed and overtasked with meal planning and groceries (include fuel and cleanup time in our total goals), and where we keep some of our varied prepper and lifestyle supplies. Even the amounts of things we keep on hand, and how we organize them, can lessen the effects on time that we face.
Sometimes, though, all we can do is be aware of them and make some concessions, as with the suppertime sniffles that are super common but oh-so-rarely mentioned as one of the joys of getting a little older.
In the case of sniffles, no big, we keep hankies/tissues handy to the table. Others require a little more planning yet, like setting up water catchment, gardens, and livestock in a way we’ll be able to maintain no matter what happens.
It doesn’t replace the time, but actively planning for things to take longer, from the steps we can physically take to how often we have to stop for one reason or another, and any competition our more frequent pit stops will create, can help keep things running smoother, which does put more time back in our pocket versus trying to adjust on the fly, and reduces the stress — and the fluster from it, and increased frustrations and friction from that — that sometimes pops up otherwise.
Whether it’s age, injury, illness, or just increased demands for our time, we can set things up to run smoother no matter what condition we face, and reduce just how diminished our returns will be.