Feeling overwhelmed? Staying organised may help.

Stressed woman

Feeling overwhelmed? Staying organised may help.

If you're living with cancer, you might feel overwhelmed. Between working, making time for family and friends, pursuing hobbies, preparing meals, exercising and going to doctors' appointments, there's often a lot to balance.

Some days, it's 1 minute at a time but the time passes, and then before you know it, you've reached certain milestones that you were hoping for.

Lindsay, a mother of two and an oncology nurse who is living with cancer, finds it helpful to focus on what she can do in the present moment. "Some days you have to do 1 hour at a time," she says. "Some days it's 1 minute at a time but the time passes, and then before you know it, you've reached certain milestones that you were hoping for."

Remembering what your doctor says
Of all the things you need to stay on top of every day, your health is arguably the most important. You may spend a lot of time at the doctors' office, going over test results, discussing different therapeutic options and making decisions about your treatment. And it can be especially difficult to keep track of what you hear during these visits. Whether you're first learning that you have cancer, or you're working with your doctor to better understand your treatment plan, there's a lot to take in and process.

People forget between 40 and 80% of what doctors say after leaving their appointments.

Some tips to help you stay organised
Not everyone organises information in the same way. Some people feel the need to write down everything they hear and make lots of lists and reminders, while others prefer taking minimal notes. Whatever your preference, here are some tips you may find helpful:

  • Jot down important information as you hear it. Your notes can be as detailed or brief as you want. You may find it helpful to ask a friend, loved one or carer to take notes for you
  • Create a folder to keep all your important documents in one place
  • Set appointment reminders for yourself on your phone, and if you're not sure how, ask a friend or loved one for help
  • Try the free app, ByYourSide, designed to help you manage life with cancer. On the app, you can record key takeaways from your doctor and keep track of important notes and questions to help make doctors' visits more productive. You can also organise important test results, medication details and insurance documents all in one place, so everything is at your fingertips. No matter what your organisational style, tools like ByYourSide may make it easier to remember important information from doctors' visits.

Making time for what you love
When you feel organised, you may feel more in control of your health, and you might find you have more time and energy for what matters to you the most: friends, family, loved ones and everything else you're passionate about.