How to get your Productivity back on track after a setback

During my first conversation with new clients, I ask them to explain their challenges and what they need help with. Very often they end up explaining some event that has occurred that was the beginning of the problem (whether they were conscious of it or not).

It may have been a death, an illness, a change of job or circumstances, living arrangements, family problems, a business rapidly growing or halting or anything in between. The ongoing effects of events like this can snowball and become completely overwhelming. While I have always been understanding of the effects these types of events, my recent bout of morning sickness has given me a whole new personal perspective on it.

What happened

For those of you who have experienced "morning" sickness, I don't need to explain any further, except to say mine wasn't the worst case I've heard of but it totally knocked me for six. If you've never experienced it, imagine the worst hangover you've had but it lasts all day every day, for weeks. The nausea and exhaustion were crippling and then add to that the hormones and emotions that go with such a huge life change.

What this did to my business and home life

I wasn't marketing or getting out there like I normally do. This meant that new client opportunities dwindled (not that I had the energy to do much client work anyway) and income did too! And the bills and mail started to pile up, the housework was let go, and what did get done was taken care of by my wonderful husband.

How I managed

  • I have systems in place - having my systems for managing my email, to-dos, filing etc meant that I could find what I needed when I felt up to getting some work done. Also, when new things came in over that time, even if I was feeling rubbish, I could quickly put them in the right spot so that I could deal with it when I was ready. No mess of paperwork or overflowing inbox to come back to.
  • I Prioritised - being able to see all my tasks together in my task management system, I could pick out the things that absolutely needed to happen and leave the rest for later, or sometimes just decide that some things I was not going to do it at all. When big changes happen in our lives, sometime we realise that some of the tasks we do regularly are just not as important as we thought.
  • I Stopped feeling guilty - I read lots of blogs and I have seen alot of stories of women still working and growing their business through alot worse sickness than mine. And then there was the thought of the women who work 9-5 jobs and try to keep their pregnancy quiet until the 12 week mark! So I thought I should be able to keep working as per normal and batttle through. So not only was I nauseous, exhausted, but I was miserable! I felt like I was doing something wrong and I was so hard on myself. Thank goodness for the family and friends who finally got through to me that it was OK to rest when I needed to. If you don't look after your health you have nothing, and continuing to try and push myself wasn't helping anyone.
  • Do just a little bit every day - having that rest time meant that I could at least work for a couple of hours and that time was actually productive. I told myself that if I could just get "x" done, then that was an achievement and I could go rest some more. 

Now that I'm feeling better, I'm back to working though my to-do list, re-prioritising, and chipping away at the things I need to catch up on. I know it will take a little while to get back on top of everything, but I can't let myself get overwhelmed or that will slow me down even more.

If you'd like to learn more about some of the systems I recommend to keep on top of the constant flow of incoming information, tasks, paper and email, I'm hosting a seminar next week as an introduction to how I work with clients and sharing plenty of useful tips along the way. More information here: Straighten Up and Get Sorted - Tues 26th May