Pomodoro Your Healthcare!

I’ve been peeking into the world of time management lately. I like seeing how I can be more efficient and effective. One of my favorite practices is the Pomodoro technique. A Pomodoro is actually a type of tomato, but as timers often come in the shape of tomatoes, for some reason, this pomodoro means:

  1. choosing a task you’d like done,
  2. doing that task, solely, with no distractions, for 25 minutes, and then taking a break.

I realized today, that’s what people need to do! Pomodoro their healthcare!

As part of my lecture on the 5 mistakes new immigrants make when managing their healthcare in Israel, I discuss the importance of setting personal healthcare goals, and then creating a structure to meet those goals.  The structure is both mental, such as deciding your goals, and logistical, like finding a doctor or a specialist and choosing the preventative and early detection tests that accompany those personal goals.

About ten years ago, I realized that unless I planned a weekly home administration day, I was never going to get my bills paid, or set up those teacher meetings, or keep up with the myriad of details that make up our personal lives. For me, this includes managing the healthcare of myself and my family.

I do realize that not everyone has the flexibility of freelance work or being their own boss, but even if I make a separate day for home administration, it often falls by the wayside. Meetings that can’t be moved, conferences, holidays all get in the way.

But wait! What if I Pomodoro my medical administration time? What do I mean?

It’s Tuesday afternoon, I’m home early. I put on the timer, and for the next 25 minutes I make the children’s dentist appointments, that specialist follow up that I know my son will need in six months, and calling the hospital to find out what days I can do the CT.

This is also the case for medical decisions. Sometimes we think we need oodles of time to decide whether we should take this medication or do that procedure. But decisions need to be made. Not making a decision is also a decision.

For example, I had a client call me the other day to ask me if they should have their child tested for ADHD or wait another year like the ganenet suggested? Both parents worked full time and kept putting off the thought process, because as the client said to me, “That would require using a different part of my brain than I use every day.” I get it, yet, in this case, the default decision is that their child continues through kindergarten with no auxiliary services or recognition. So they have, in essence, already made a decision.

However, if they said “okay, we’re going to turn on the timer, and my spouse and I will debate both sides of the issue; when the timer rings, we decide,” now they have an active decision instead of accepting the default status.

I still like my home administration idea but I realized that I don’t need a whole day, I can just Pomodoro it and move forward. That can be scheduled!

My take-home message?

  1. Make a list of everything health related that you need to take care of in general: dentists appointments, routine blood tests, mammograms, colonoscopy, specialist follow-ups, imaging tests, children’s educational/mental evaluations, etc..
  2. Put a simple picture of a tomato on your calendar, during business hours on a weekday .
  3. When you see the tomato, set your timer for 25 minutes using your smartphone, your desktop, or even an old-fashioned timer if you have one.
  4. Take out your readymade list (saved so easily on your desktop, in Google keep, asana, or just a piece of paper you keep in your bag/diary) and make the calls or online appointments you need to do.
  5. When the timer dings, cross off what you’ve done, write anything new that is needed or has been created, and schedule your tomato in for the next week.

How do you work in scheduling for doctors?  Let us know about it!

2 thoughts on “Pomodoro Your Healthcare!”

  1. sheila k. sobel

    I like this tomato scheduling, using an image as a reminder is compatible to the mind. I schedule seeing the secretaries at Macaabi office on the same day for food shopping as they are in the same area. The bank and municipalty if need be, are on the way. One day all business and personal needs done walkiñg through Nahariya!

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