We stumbled into 2014 with a cold AND a stomach bug running rampant in our little studio. Having already taken a healthy week off for the holiday’s another unplanned week turned into a nightmare. As a small business owner, it is not as exciting as I remember it was in high-school to be told the best remedy is ‘resting for a few days’ to recover. Especially when your business depends on you being present and healthy.
Returning to the studio after any time away can feel overwhelming playing catch up. Thankfully, developing solid relationships with our clients from the start helps during times like these. We are lucky to have such awesome and understanding clients. One reason I started Dandyline Designs was to support other business owners. It is such a great feeling being supported in return, when I needed it.
This prompted me to share some ideas I found through a few articles in my quest for searching for how other business owners handle sick time and having to literally ‘shut down’ business until they are healthy again. There are some wonderfully proactive ideas that I will implement moving forward. Here are 5 tips to help you be productive:
1. What Are Your Priorities?
What are your most important tasks for the coming month? Take a few minutes to narrow your list down to just two or three items. Chances are you couldn’t complete everything on your list even when you’re well, so don’t be too hard on yourself while you are sick.
2. What Can Be Delayed?
In addition to figuring out which tasks are absolutely top priority for you, take a look at what items can be aside for now with minimum consequences. Some things won’t be your top priority and yet you may be reluctant to put them on the list of things to delay. To start, just look for the items you can easily identify.
3. What Can You Let Go Of?
Being sick can be an opportunity in disguise. Look closely at all the projects you are working on and ask yourself if it’s really essential for all parties involved. If you don’t feel enthusiasm for the project even while you’re sick, that may be a clue that it’s something that’s not worth doing. This won’t (and should not) apply to everything. For example, you’ll still need to pay your bills on time. However, you may discover something you hadn’t considered.
One business owner shared: “During my recent sickness, I realized that a major project I have been working on was not for me. It was something I had been working on for an embarrassingly long time. Worse, I was getting discouraged about my lack of progress. I realized it was going to take too much time, money and energy for the expected results.
Being sick gave me a chance to evaluate this project from a completely different frame of mind where it was obvious that the best thing was to cancel the project. It was quite a relief. Rather than feeling stressed about my lack of progress with it, the project is no longer on my list of things to work on.”
4. Break It Down!
One of the best ways to get things done and overcome procrastination is to break your list of tasks into smaller chunks. It seems simple but it’s not easy.
One business owner shared: “If I was unable to sleep – or between naps – I knew I had just about enough energy for 5 or 10 minutes of work. When you only have the energy to send one email before you stop, you know you have to quickly figure out which email that will be.”
You may be too sick to do anything that requires much thought. If you still feel compelled to do some work, this is a good time to look for those simple tasks that need will eventually have to be done, but don’t require much thought.
One business owner shared: “At one point I was too cranky to write even simple emails, but I could scan a couple receipts. It was obvious from the stack of receipts waiting to be scanned that this was something that needed to be done. It wasn’t as urgent as some other things, but it was the easiest thing available at the moment.”
I hope these tips will help you survive the cold and flu season. Be sure to reach out to family and friends for support. Please share your experiences and recommendations below. Also, be sure to drink lots of water and treat your body well with clean food and activities.
Finally, thanks to all of our clients who have been patient during our recovery. We are so lucky to be connected with such strong and supportive business owners in our community.