Simplifying the Complex: Post-Appointment Tasks

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

When facing a complicated problem, it is easier to avoid the problem then it is to figure out how to solve it. The key is to break it down into a series of single steps. A hundred hour project with a dozen variables looms large, but if you isolate each variable, it becomes attainable.

100 hour project? Daunting. 15-20 minutes a day for a year? Not so bad. That’s what I did to learn piano.


Are these tasks similar? Can I do them all at once?

Does when I schedule this appointment, or do my homework, matter?

If it matters, do it early, or you may not get it done in time. The real world does not match our expectations. Tasks often take longer than I think. When I first started going to my normal PA, I could get an appointment within a week or two. Now, it takes a month.

After a doctor’s appointment, you may need to set a reminder to follow up with them about questions you have, test results, etc.

Go over your notes. I’ll often do this before I leave, I find it is easiest when the doctor’s words are fresh in my mind. I pull out main recommendations and action items. I separate the action items onto an empty side of an index card so I won’t lose it later (you can use a notebook, just don’t lose track of the page).

I separate these into communication tasks (calling doctors, etc.) and things I need to do for my health (walk once a day, try a new cream for my skin, etc).

Is there anything you need to do before you leave? Do you need to schedule a follow-up appointment? Ask a question?

I’ll also read the doctor’s notes when they become available. These are sometimes inaccurate (they work from templates), but can be very useful.

You can use this basic technique in managing any complex problem. All I’m doing is taking a complex problem (managing health issues, doctor’s appointments, and doctors recommendations) and breaking it into smaller tasks I need to complete to solve it.

Prioritizing Action

What is the worst problem I have?

What will make the biggest difference in the area?

Do that. Practice that habit until it becomes automatic. Then repeat with another habit. The goal is to make doing the right thing automatic starting with the most important solutions.

This was not as detailed as I would have like it be, but I’ve got to work with I can do. That’s another principle: Better a little that isn’t as good, than nothing. My posts will be shorter going forward, at least for this season of my life.


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