...use the Pacing Fridge Magnets

How to use the Pacing Fridge Magnets

Boom and bust is a common routine for those of us with chronic pain or fatigue (or both) - we feel a OKish, so we rush about, trying to cram everything in to the few hours of 'OK' before we crash out with pain and exhaustion. A much better approach is to 'pace' our time. Like a marathon runner doesn't go all out in the first 2 miles - instead they set a pace that will let them use their energy well - and they finish much quicker as a result.

In practice this means switching between activities that are challenging and ones which allow us to recharge from that activity. But it's not easy to get this balance right AND get everything done that you need to.

So we created the Pacing Fridge Magnets set

Here's the basics on how to use it.

1. Gently separate the individual small rectangular magnets from the combined sheet they arrive in.


2. Place them on a suitable metal surface - such as a fridge door or a magnetic whiteboard.


3. Spread out the 'Time' magnets in the right order to give a timeline for your schedule.


4. Write the tasks you want to complete during the day on the relevant 'Task' magnets.


  • Red for 'challenging stuff' - this can be either physically challenging or mentally challenging. Both can be very draining and therefore recovery time will be needed.
  • Orange for 'OK stuff' - Not as hard as the red, but still uses up energy, so needs to be treated with respect.
  • Green for 'Easy stuff' - which can help recharge. Recharging activities can be aimed at regaining physical energy or mental energy. They can be active - like going for a walk, or resting - like listening to music, or even just something very different from what you've just been doing and which has used up lots of a specific type of energy. Whatever helps you recharge in that context. (It can help to complete the green squares last - when you have scheduled the rest of your day, then tailor the 'Easy stuff' to balance out the red and orange tasks you have.)
  • Purple for meals and snacks (don't forget to factor in food prep - especially if that's a challenging activity for you - in which case it may need a red square all to itself!)
  • and Blue for stretching, exercise and relaxation - all of which are essential parts to being as healthy as possible. Remember, exercise can mean anything from sitting up using core muscles for a few seconds to running marathons! What you put on the squares should reflect your reality.

When writing the tasks, also think about how you do things. Can you do a challenging thing in an easier way so it becomes less challenging? - like sitting down to empty the washing machine. 

(see also our pacing 'handy hints' poster for more tips on pacing well - both poster and magnets are included in our 'pacing pack'.)

5. Once you've written your tasks, put the magnets on to the schedule.


It is rarely practical to go and lie down after every task we do. Sometimes it might be needed, but other times it might be enough to simply switch between tasks which are challenging in different ways (and as a result, let the previously challenged part of us recharge) before they make symptoms escalate too far. We can also switch back and forth between two longer tasks that are differently-challenging in order to end up with both finished, but having caused fewer symptoms. 

6. See if you honestly think it's a sensible plan.

It should contain a good mix of all the colours. If, having seen the schedule, you think it needs changing, simply, move things around until it works for you. Having a 'for tomorrow' section of the board is a good idea, so you can slide tasks into the next day - so tasks still get done, just at a rate that you can cope with.


6. Follow your plan!

Using a timer or alarm to remind you when to change activities can relaly help

7. Move magnets and tasks round if things change.

So you can still keep your day well paced even if it doesn't follow the original plan.

General maintenance of the magnets:

Whenever you need to change the task on a magnet, simply wipe it off with the eraser supplied, or a sort tissue. If this doesn't work, write over the remaining marks with the drywipe pen provided, and then rub them out again - the new pen will soften the old pen marks and remove it easily.

Only use drywipe pens on the magnets.

Do not get the magnets wet.

For some examples of using the firdge magnets, you can also see some of our blog posts: