Being sick sucks. No one ever wants to get sick so it always happens at an inconvenient time. If you’re running a business that requires your constant attention, it may become very difficult to manage your current schedule when you’re feeling under the weather.
Nevertheless, there will be times when your productivity will completely tank due to getting sick and you’ll just have to manage and bounce back. Here are some tips to help you manage a productivity slump when you’re sick.
Take a Day Off
I know this sounds counter-productive but hey if you’re really sick, you have to take time off in order to recover. Most people try to push through and keep on working which can actually make things worse.
When my husband caught the flu, he tried to keep working for a day or two and it completely broke his body down. In order to fully recover, he ended up having to take several days off from work. When you’re sick, your body needs time to rest and recover. You also need time to make it to doctor’s appointments and pick up medicine.
If you try to power through, there’s no telling how you’ll possibly pay for it in the future when you could have just taken one day off and gone back to work the next day being more recharged.
Get to the Root of the Problem
This should go without saying, but if an illness is going to deter your work schedule, you want to make sure to get to the bottom of the situation and identify what it is. That way, you can start an effective treatment plan ASAP.
Sure, sleeping away the whole day may sound nice, but if you’re experiencing what you believe to be a sinus infection, you’ll want to confirm your symptoms and start treating the illness so you can get on the road to recovery.
Doing nothing will just lead you to feel worse for longer and you’ll lose precious time that could’ve been spent getting back on schedule.
Communicate with Your Team
Figure out what you can and can’t do and communicate clearly with your team and clients about it. It doesn’t feel good to not be able to meet a deadline but being honest about your situation is the best action to take.
Your team could help pick up the slack by taking on additional responsibilities while you’re sick or your client can reschedule your due date or find someone else to take on the task.
At the end of the day, everyone will be on the same page and know that it will take you some time to catch up when you get back into the swing of things.
I personally have a hard time telling clients I’m sick because I feel like it’s an excuse. I fail to realize that it’s practically normal due to the fact that most traditional employers offer their employees sick days to use when needed.
Since I work for myself, there’s no one to grant me sick days or time off so I have to do it myself and I realize I’m a little too hard on myself.
The good news is that you probably won’t be sick all the time so if you need to tell people in your business once or twice a year, it’s not like it will be a regular occurrence or disruption.
Reschedule Meetings and Appointments
If it’s clear that you’re not going to be able to sit through any meetings for a few days, don’t just cancel them – see if you can reschedule them too! This is very important especially if you have appointments or scheduled calls with new prospects.
Be sure to reach out to everyone and rearrange your calendar for future weeks to accommodate the changes. Another helpful thing you can do is see if someone can take meeting minutes or record the online meeting so you can view it later.
Some people do this already so it shouldn’t be an issue. That way, you can listen in and catch the replay while your resting so you can be on top of all the updates.
Break Your Work Up
If you’re on the road to recovery and feel like you can start easing back into doing some work, be sure to break your tasks up into smaller chunks. This is one of the best ways to manage a productivity slump when you’re sick because you’re not going to be able to do things at your usual speed and energy level.
You may have a cut an 8-hour work day into a 4-hour work day or nap for a while then knock out a few extra tasks. Try not to overexert yourself and only do work when you feel motivated and willing.
One thing that can help is breaking up your time into small increments and getting work done only during that time then taking a break. For example, you may work on something for 30 minutes then take a 5-minute break. This is called the Pomodoro Technique and it allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment while still getting the much-needed rest you need.
Plan Out Your Return
Some people get stressed out by thinking about going back to work after extended time off whether it’s due to being on vacation or being sick. Others, find it relieving.
If it’s making you anxious just sitting around and doing nothing, start planning out what your week will look like when you get back to work. Instead of stressing out over the pressing projects that you might mess up due to being sick, focus on those fun tasks you’re passionate about.
Outline that book you’ve been wanting to write, make a list of people in your industry you’d like to collaborate with in the future or plan some content out for your website.
Remember, break your work up into chunks and go with the flow depending on how you feel. One of the best things you can do as a business owner is work ahead. This will help put you at ease when you do get sick and have to take a few days off.
I try to stay at least one week ahead with most of my client work but it doesn’t always end up like that. Still, this helps create a buffer should I ever need to take time off for an emergency or sickness.
Being sick can make you feel helpless sometimes when it comes to being productive. Yes, it will slow things down but you can always recover quickly. Use these helpful hacks to manage a productivity slump the next time you’re sick so you can bounce back easier.