How do you cope when you're ill?

This is another business post (rather than nail specific) following on from my time management and organisation entry. I was OFF SICK last month for 3 days and it inspired me to write about how we deal with the inevitable unexpected time off as self-employed business people.

I’m one of those very lucky people that virtually never had a day of school, and has pretty much never had to rearrange a client due to illness. Sure, I get my fair share of the sniffles, and sure I occasionally have to reschedule appointments due to other commitments, but my immune system has generally supported my working schedule. Perhaps this was due to eating a lot of dirt as a toddler, perhaps it’s sheer luck, but I have always taken it for absolute granted. Until now.

So, before you start worrying, there’s nothing wrong with me now, it was likely a stomach bug and I’m back to full health, but it completely floored me and I had to have 3 days on the sofa. For those of you in employment, this can be catastrophic for your boss if this happens to you, but you yourself are largely able to pick up where you left off upon your return to work in the knowledge that a certain portion of your work missed will have been undertaken by another member of staff. But what about when you’re self-employed? You get an enormous backlog to catch up with!

This is when your planning really comes in handy. I wrote my list as usual of tasks that needed to be completed and picked off the urgent ones that had to be done that day if nothing else. Obviously contacting clients to reschedule was number 1 on the list, followed by 2 emails that had to be sent. It took me 8 hours, but it got done eventually. And repeat.

So this affliction lasted me through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday saw a long day working in London and Friday & Saturday an exhausted combination of catching up on missed clients, admin and personal jobs. But how do you prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed with trying to do 6 days worth of work in 2 days? Again, it goes back to my organisational post about writing down all the tasks & then picking off the urgent and priority jobs and completing them systematically.

There is no point stressing out trying to do all the catching up in one day. Prioritise a reasonable number of jobs to be done and allow time for rest if you are still recovering. Not all your jobs are urgent and can wait until you are in the right space mentally to undertake them, for example, will your business wither and wilt if you don’t do the Instagram post you had intended to until tomorrow? I highly doubt it. Leave it until you are healed and have the energy to give to it to do it properly.

I like to refer to Eisenhower’s urgency/importance principle below which is a great tool to pull out of the locker in times of high workload and stress where time management, efficacy and efficiency are crucial.

To use this principle you must first write a list of all jobs and then allocate them one of the 4 categories.

  1. Important and Urgent: complete these number 1 priority tasks today. Do it now!

  2. Important but not urgent: leave these for today and schedule them in to be completed on another day where you will have more time to dedicate to doing them well.

  3. Not important but urgent: can you delegate them to ease your own load? Will they affect you if not completed? Were they in fact a procrastination all along? Do they achieve your goals or someone elses? Can you just say no? Or reschedule them?

  4. Not important and not urgent: Get them off the list.

Unexpected time off from your business can happen for so many reasons and have a huge knock on effect for the coming days and weeks planning. I hope this has been a helpful post to remind you that you’re KILLING IT, you’re human, and you can always bounce back!

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