After a particularly excessive couple of months of working long hours, lots of stress, deadlines to meet, clients demanding extra services and family issues the flu bug finally got me.
Now for someone who is basically never sick but who is a solopreneur, what to do?
OPTION 1. STAY IN BED, IGNORE WORK AND TRY AND GET BETTER.
Hmm. Sounds like a great idea, except that there are deadlines to be met, a major client needs some amendments done to a report, and I have a big presentation to prepare for, not to mention recording podcast episodes. Ok, so that sounded great, but it just isn’t practical.
OPTION 2. KEEP WORKING.
Years ago, this would always be the option I would go for. That was until a woman I knew of in my industry who was well known, highly respected and going places died. She was 32 at the time and like me, right now, was working the long hours and preparing for big presentations, and she just kept working through the ‘cold’ thinking nothing of it. The problem was it developed into pneumonia, and she died. Whilst the industry mourned the loss of a rising star, what was worse was she left behind two little kids and a distraught husband and extended family.
I learnt a valuable lesson that day. And whilst I’m guessing it was about 20 years ago, every time I get sick, I remember this, so I don’t keep pushing myself when I’m sick.
OPTION 3. DO THE MINIMUM WORK POSSIBLE.
This is what I do these days. If there’s an absolute priority and deadline, then I’ll do that work, but everything else that can be pushed back gets pushed back. The biggest challenge I find is a headache. Whilst the coughing and spluttering are annoying, and a nuisance and no fun, the headache for me is the killer. I can’t function when my head hurts.
This week I needed to amend a complex spreadsheet for a client and whilst I should have been able to get it done in a few hours, I couldn’t. I made the changes, doing my best to concentrate on the logic and get it right first time, but after a few hours with my head pounding I had to admit defeat when the numbers didn’t add up properly.
Whilst, I knew I was letting down my client (and I absolutely hate to do that), I also knew there was no point me continuing on that day, so I crawled back into bed for the afternoon. Next day, I finished it off with a slightly clearer head.
Letting your clients know that you’re not well and changing their expectations on service delivery will take the pressure off you to have to get work done.
In summary. The one time I wish I wasn’t a solopreneur and that I had a team of people around me who I could delegate my work to is when I’m sick, particularly the headache version. The flu or cold or whatever it is, is a sign that you need to slow down; take time out and give your body a chance to recover back to full health.