“How to Prepare for Surgery.” This is an odd subject for a time management and productivity blog, isn’t it? After all, what the heck does prepping for surgery have to do with time and efficiency? Well, if you’ve ever peeked at any of the books that I’ve written, you know that I’m a firm believer in self-care. After all, if you don’t care for your mind and body, you won’t be able to make better decisions about how you use your time.

When faced with surgery, you know that you will be down for the count. Self-care becomes even more critical so that you can get back sooner at 100% to work – and play!

My husband recently underwent surgery for a hernia recurrence. The original surgery took place back in 2015. In December of 2016, that inguinal hernia just could not be contained any longer and it popped back through the abdominal lining.

There’s no such thing as “minor surgery.” All surgeries have some kind of risk. The more invasive, the more risky it is, and that adds stress. Compound that with the thought that we’re basically paying twice for the same surgery, and you could say that we were determined to make sure that this one “sticks.”

For folks who have to undergo constant medical procedures, you’ll probably think that this list is a bunch of no-brainers. But if you’re not used to going under the knife, here’s a list of what we found helpful to do in order to prep for surgery and increase the probability of a faster recovery.

How to prepare for surgery: From the Beginning

1) Organize your information. You’re going to have information thrown at you left and right. If you’re paper-oriented, choose a folder that is portable so that you can have your information at your fingertips. I had an accordion file with medical research, pre-op instructions, post-op instructions, medical leave paperwork, insurance information, and receipts. If you’re digitally oriented, you can have similar categories for your digital folders on whatever device you use. For easier access, store your documents in a secure location (well, as secure as possible anyway) in the cloud.

2) Get a second opinion. We visited with two surgeons who had different methods and different philosophies about recovery. We opted to go with the surgeon who was going to use what we felt was a more reliable fix, and who also believed that scar tissue will heal better and have a lower risk of tearing if movement is encouraged. Armed with our research and knowledge, we walked in with a lot more confidence, which lowered our stress levels.

3) Tie up loose ends at work. The last thing that you want to do during recovery is have work “on the brain.” Be sure to finish up critical projects. With any ongoing projects that won’t be finished up, be sure to let those involved know as soon as possible about your surgery and how long you’ll be off work. Give them their due date for getting any last minute items to you. (Don’t make this the day before surgery. Allow several days to process these requests.) Also let them know how long you’ll be totally unavailable by phone or email.

4) Submit your leave paperwork. As if you didn’t have enough paperwork from the insurance companies, be sure to check with your HR department to find out what procedures you need to follow in order to take medical leave.

This was Part 1 in my How to Prepare for Surgery series.

Be sure to catch the rest:

Part 2 – what to do in the days leading up to the surgery

Part 3 – what to do the day of surgery and in the days immediately after

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead? The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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