It seems inevitable for a lot of us, who no matter how well we take care of ourselves, wrapping up warm, taking our vitamins, eating well, still manage to conquer all obstacles and get sick anyways.
Being sick isn’t pleasant for anyone, but if you’re a part of a small business or a start-up, the chances that you have the luxury of getting sick are pretty slum.
Things need to get done and you need to do them.
Unfortunately, you’re not much use to anyone with your sniffles, sneezing, coughing and general spreading of germs. Nor are you really getting that much work done since your brain is so drowsy and your eyes are struggling to stay open.
When you’re under the weather, you just have to face facts that things won’t be performing at 100% for the next day or two.
Ideally, you have a back-up plan ready to go, or a person who can cover you. But if you absolutely have to work, the best you can hope to do (before seriously setting yourself back a few days due to prolonged sickness) is about 2 – 3 hours of good work.
Stay productive when sick, here’s some tips:
1. Figure Out If You’re Well Enough To Go To Work
I’m stubborn when it comes to being sick, but over the years I’ve learned my lessons the hard way. If you’re too sick: Don’t go to work. You’re not as productive and end up wasting a lot of time, you get others sick, and you take longer to recover.
Presenteeism (the opposite of absenteeism) is a problem that’s escalating all over the world, and researchers are beginning to take a serious look at the phenomenon that has workers in work, but not fully functioning. Recent research has shown that such a practice can cut individual productivity by 1/3 or more. As studies into the area continue, researchers have suggested that companies are in fact losing billions of dollars on presenteeism, possibly even more than they lose due to absenteeism.
If you’re too sick to go to work, then don’t. Going to work while you’re sick will only ensure that your productivity levels stay lower for longer.
Instead, stay at home and focus on recovering faster. The faster you get better, the faster you’ll be back to being productive and effective again.
Stress has been proven to have a negative impact on our immune system. In fact, healing can be slowed by 40% if you’re stressed out.
So if you really do want to stay productive while sick, then start by relaxing.
3. Prioritize Your Work
To stay productive when sick, you need to figure out where your priorities lie. Not everything has to be done today, and deep down, you know and understand this.
Figure out what absolutely has to be done today, what would be easy to get done today and what can be caught up at a later date.
For example, if you have to have content created for tomorrow, focus on getting this task done well. Make it manageable by coming up with a topic that won’t take too much energy to create (something you’re an expert in).
Ideally, having a post prepared for sick days beforehand is the best course of action. Then all you have to do is schedule it, and presto, you can focus on taking care of yourself!
If there’s nothing that has to be done for tomorrow, but you’re anxious about returning to a chaotic workspace, I would recommend focusing on work that’s easy enough to do, but perhaps wasn’t done before because it’s time consuming. Focusing on getting a bit of work that’s easy to do, will reduce your anxiety levels, while also making catching up when you’re back to full health easier. For example, maybe you want to create some templates for content creation, come up with a rough schedule for the coming months, organizing your computer’s folders or simply read some material around your industry.
4. Take a Hot Shower/Bath
When you’re sick, you’re temperature rises because your body is trying to fight off the invading germs. Taking a warm shower/bath helps to sweat out some of the toxins in your body, will make you feel a little bit more energetic and will also help to clear your mind.
If you’re suffering from a bad cold, it will also help to clear your sinuses and thus aid in your body’s healing process.
For added benefits, try a concoction of ingredients to help your body detox. Baking soda is great for drawing toxins from the body, and you can add some lavender oils to your bath to help you relax and/or sleep.
It’s important that you get the most out of the 2 – 3 hours that you have, so taking a bath or shower before you start to work can really help you be productive for those few hours.
5. Work From Your Bed
Even if you have a desk to work at in your home, it’s best to stay in bed for the day. This will allow for you to relax and let your body do the healing.
Plus, sitting at a desk can often put you into “work” mode. Work mode will drain your body of the energy it needed to heal itself, and you’ll just end up being sick for longer.
So prop plenty of pillows behind your back, and grab everything you need so that it’s within arm’s reach of your bed.
- Cold (or flu/cough etc.) medicine
6. Call in Help
When friends or family offer to come to your aid, it’s tempting to brush their offers off as polite and just put your head down and do it by yourself, but it’ll make for a slower recovery.
Instead, when someone offers to bring you soup in bed, try actually accepting it.
I know, I know.
Sounds crazy, right?
Friends and family are offering to help you because they care, and don’t feel guilty. When they’re sick, it’ll be your turn to lavish help on them.
Friends and family are great for bringing you the soups and medicines that you’ll need to get better fast. Get one of these 7 soups that are great for flus and colds, for the fastest recovery possible.
7. Sleep When You Feel Like It
If you’re feeling drowsy and your eyes are refusing to cooperate by staying open, then let yourself drowse off. Your body wants to sleep so it can conserve energy and heal itself. Don’t hinder the process because you’ll feel “guilty”.
Sleep now, work later.
Your tasks will be still there when you wake up.
Sometimes you get into a bind where you can’t sleep, nor can you work. It’s probably one of the most frustrating middle grounds to be in, but in this case, your best bet is to rest, relax and meditate. Even if you don’t sleep, the meditation, relaxing and resting helps to speed up your recovery process.
8. Drink Coffee… But More Water
I realize that this goes against all advice that you hear from doctors. Coffee dehydrates you and stops you from sleeping.
But if you really do have to work, and need to focus just for a few hours, coffee can give you that added kick that you need to get the work done. Don’t forget to drink enough water, say about three cups water for every cup of coffee you drink.
And, of course, avoid alcohol at all costs.
Got any other tips to stay productive when sick? Do share!