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10 Ways to Improve Your Medical Appointments

10 Ways to Improve Your Medical Appointments

One of the most important relationships we have outside of family and friends are the ones we share with our doctors and practitioners.  In this era of patient-centered care, the focus to the patients’ expectations on their doctor/practitioner have now outweighed the expectation of the doctor on the patient. So, is this a good thing? Yes and no. Like any good relationship it takes 2 parties to make it work. The best relationships are formed and continue to grow based on how the parties interact.

These 10 points will help empower you, the patient to better control your destiny in these situations. It is your health after all.

1. Before your appointment make a list of questions. Make it no longer than 5 but realize you will probably only get to 3. Focus on what matters most.

Hint: Think about your objective for the appointment and don’t let it get lost in your quest to be cured instantly.

2. Always aim to be the first patient of the day (this is also applicable to surgery).

Why? Everyone is fresh and open-minded. Your doctor has not been jaded by 10 other patients and this is your opportunity to start his or her day off on the right foot.

3. Listen after you ask a question, do not ramble on.

The art of the pause is very important as it allows the professional to regroup his or her thoughts and shows respect on your end.

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4. Do not bring your own research or opinions from Dr. Google.

Instead use your research to form your questions. Remember you are not an expert nor is your doctor on everything, but you are the expert on you.  As well, don’t push for what you perceive to be the issue. Use the appointment time wisely to explore and take the proper next steps.

How to phrase your own findings: I wanted to understand what I was experiencing, and found this online – what do you think?

5. Look your doctor or practitioner in the eye when you greet and speak to them.

Accept the same in return.Jumping right in with issues gets everyone on edge for no reason. Eye contact changes the way we respond and lowers our cortisol levels.

6. Ask your doctor or practitioner how they are.

Acknowledgement that we are all the same human species makes for a level playing field so all parties feel more comfortable.

7. If you don’t like your doctor or have a personality clash get a new one – you are doing everyone a favour.

The other reasons that may call for this are:

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A. Wait times to see him or her

B. Your first language is not English – find someone who speaks your mother tongue

C. The support staff make you uncomfortable or continuously make errors

D. The doctor has poor listening skills

8. No one is perfect.

If something is not working or makes you uncomfortable it is your life/health. Speak directly to your doctor/practitioner and resolve or move on. Many people feel intimidated by a doctor or practitioner – if your intuition says something or you were not understood speak up.

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Is it your intuition or you?

A. Are you looking to hear something your doctor is not telling you?

B. Are you not listening?

C. Looking for an excuse not to get well and avoid the doctor’s office

9. Don’t look for problems.

Maybe you are having emotional issues or hate your job. Yes, you can manifest something and get pills, but remember the saying: Be careful what you wish for.

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If you are having any issues – change your appointment and maybe take a day off instead.  Sometimes, the doctor serves as a friend/psychologist.  Because of the nature of how a practice is set-up they are limited for time.  You must acknowledge this as well, and ensure that what you are asking is valid and within their scope.

Pills do not solve life problems. A prescription to be happier and take a walk just might…

10. A good patient forms a bond with a practitioner/doctor that allows him or her to grow with that practice and as health issues occur call upon that professional for help.

However, you are first and foremost responsible for your health. Take it seriously as your life depends on it.

A doctor is just a human with a different skill set.  Often we put too much on their shoulders, when in fact it truly starts with ourselves.  Before you do to your appointment audit your lifestyle: food, sleep, habits… be honest and also share these with your doctor.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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