How to bounce back after a productivity setback.

Four days ago I woke up with stomach cramps. I've come to expect this. You know, it happens like clockwork once a month and I've even gotten to a point where I schedule it into my month. I don't book meetings on those days and I don't expect much of myself. I work from my couch with plenty of blankets and pillows, a heating pad and usually a made for TV movie in the background. That works great! But what I couldn't plan for happened two days later.

 

I woke up and felt a little off. I had pushed a lot of my tasks onto that day in response to a less productive few days before and knowing Thanksgiving would happen the next day. I settled myself into the coffee shop and noticed that I was less focused than normal and feeling really cold and uncomfortable. I always send newsletters out on Wednesdays and I couldn't seem to get one to come out. I eventually realized I'd spent the last hour or so trying to force something that wasn't going to happen and I packed up and headed home. Before I even reached my couch I knew something was wrong. I couldn't get warm no matter how hard I tried. I took a hot bath and the water felt cold. I covered myself in three layers of blankets and still shivered. It hurt to move and my temperature had risen to over 100 degrees. I wasn't going to get anything done. 

Then Thanksgiving happened and what was supposed to be a 4 day work week turned into a 2 day work week. If you're a freelancer then you know what that means. It means a to-do list that piles up on top itself leaving you with a slight panicked feeling and that doomed realization that you either aren't going to get it all done or you're going to have to work through the weekend. 

As I started my workday this morning, I had a choice to make.  Do I place a sense of urgency on everything on my list and then panic? Or, do I prioritize my to-do's and my time? 

I chose the latter. 

I evaluated what I had on my list, chose the four most urgent tasks and made those my priority for today. Then, I asked myself if there was a window of time that I could work this weekend that wouldn't feel terrible for me. I truly enjoy working on Saturday mornings so I put two small tasks to that day and I'm not far off from tackling the top priorities of my list!

The rest will just have to wait until Monday.

If you get nothing else from this blog post, I hope that you take away that you get to choose how you respond when things set you back. That you can panic and worry and stress over making sure it all happens. OR, you can assess reality, figure out what is truly urgent and give yourself the gift of moving forward with intention and purpose. 

all the best, 
Sarajane.