Just Let It Happen: How to Stay Productive While Sick

  • Someday Lesson: Plan in catch up moments for unplanned breaks in productivity.

Kai Hendry on flickr.comLast week I updated you on my mostly successful first week of a hyper-schedule. My creativity and productivity soared and I was taking plenty of time off. My second week was going to be even better than the first.

And then I got sick but not can’t get out of bed sick. It was a weird sickness. I was dizzy and had a strange sinus pressure just above and behind my eyes, likely the cause of the dizziness. And I couldn’t concentrate, especially creatively.

So what happened to my creativity and productivity? They, of course, vanished.

I wanted to get things done. I wanted to be creative and move the novel forward, but any time I sat down to write pretty much anything the world spun and my stomach flipflopped. I could still do technical things and very logic-heavy tasks but anything that required creativity made me ill. It’s like whatever was wrong with my sinuses only affected my right brain.

Dealing with the Unexpected

I could have gotten cranky. I could have pushed myself and produced utter crap. Or I could have taken a break and let whatever was bothering me pass.

My lazy tendencies stirred long enough to convince me of the virtue in the last option. I dedicated myself to getting the bare minimum done and relaxing the rest of the time. I watched the entire latest season of Project Runway and spent most of the week in bed.

But I wasn’t completely unproductive. I also took the time to come up with a series of visions for my future – not the outcome kind of future but an action-based one. I looked 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years into the future and decided what I was doing. As Richard Wiseman points out, in his book 59 Seconds, people who picture future actions rather than future outcomes are more likely to achieve their goals.

And for some reason my dizzy right brain let me come up with some pretty awesome stuff. I guess it wasn’t a very right brain activity. I also focused on other left brain activities like creating the Personalized Someday Assessment form now available on the website, and created a flowcharts and processes for the business.

Letting It Happen

Instead of fighting with myself and making the week even worse, I let myself be sick. I enjoyed the time instead of whining about every moment that I wasn’t sticking to my schedule.

By Saturday evening I was feeling much better and by this point itching to write. So that’s exactly what I did, catching up two of three writing sessions I had missed during the week. If I had tried to push myself and fought against what my body and brain wanted, by Saturday night even writing a single word of fiction would have been as impossible as forcing a cat to play with a string it had no interest in (and I would have only ended up with the mental/emotional scratch marks to show for it).

And even though I didn’t follow my schedule much at all, by having it and knowing my goals for the week, I could pick and choose what I would get done and what I would leave unfinished. And in the end I got almost everything accomplished even though each day my tracked schedule was full of missed activities.

Plus by scheduling in plenty of relaxation time I gave myself wriggle room to catch up after feeling better. If you don’t give yourself that sort of space, then when you do fall behind, you just keep moving backwards struggling every moment.

So be kind to yourself and stop struggling – plan your time well and give yourself the best chance to achieve success, creatively.

P.S. Remember how last week I mentioned and interactive Someday Interview series? Well, it’s ready. Fill in the Personalized Someday Assessment form and starting in December your situation and my suggestions could be featured on the blog and maybe help someone else bust their own Somedays. Go check it out!

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6 thoughts on “Just Let It Happen: How to Stay Productive While Sick

  1. Angela says:

    Good advice Alex! I tend to fall into the trap of being hyper productive and then crashing when I can’t keep up with myself. I have a contingency plan for work that MUST be done, but I let other things go and just focus on taking care of myself… after all that is a luxury of a self-employed lifestyle that you can’t put a price on, right?
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..The Crunchies! =-.

  2. Alex Fayle says:

    @Angela
    Thanks! I try to stay balance and steady but tend to work in waves or super-productive and nothing, so I’ve learned to manage the waves and ride them instead of fighting against them.

  3. Good article on the importance of accepting the inevitable ups and downs of life, and riding the wave rather than trying to swim against the tide. I especially like your advice to ‘be kind to yourself and stop struggling,’ so important, and yet so easy to forget or neglect.
    .-= amanda@choosing-life-my-way.com´s last blog ..Live Life to the Fullest =-.

  4. Alex Fayle says:

    @Amanda
    Yes, it is easy to forget and to neglect ourselves. I like your analogy of the sea (especially since San Sebastian where I live is such a surfing town) 😉

  5. […] Look to the Future When Alex Fayle of the blog Someday Syndrome is too sick to work, he still manages to stay productive by changing the focus of his work. Rather […]

  6. […] Look to the Future When Alex Fayle of the blog Someday Syndrome is too sick to work, he still manages to stay productive by changing the focus of his work. Rather […]

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