Home with the flu? Perfect time to prioritize….

Back to All Posts
February 14, 2011
Last week is lost to me. It is a hazy memory of sleeping, coughing, sleeping, aching, sleeping out sickand then tending to my son who caught my germs and went through the same scenario. Being sick wreaks havoc on productivity and is really a colossal waste of time. My inability to even get out of bed for over 48 hours was one of the most frustrating experiences I have had in a long time. It is when you are sick, I mean really, really sick – that you truly appreciate what it is like being healthy. True to form, however, I was determined not to let my illness spit me out on the other side without something to say for myself. I realized that when you are sick and cannot do all of the things expected of you, this is perhaps the very best time to do some priority checking.

When you are down and out and simply cannot keep up with your responsibilities, someone has to step up and take on those most important items on your list. This is the time when you really have to decide what can be skipped, what can go without doing for a few days and what on your list is a non-negotiable. For the non-negotiables, who is going to cover for you while you are out of commission?  It is interesting to look at a few days in your life from this perspective and quite honestly, a little bit humbling because no matter how busy you feel like you are, life does go on without you.  As a veteran of the Indianapolis staffing industry, this is what we do for a living – we make sure the work still gets done, even when someone is missing.

Now, as you are reviewing your list of things for coverage while you are ill, if there are any non negotiable items on that list that no one can do but you, you have failed at the important skill of delegation. You should never put yourself in a situation where you are the only option for something important to get done and if it is something for work, your boss should never have someone on their staff who is the ONLY one who can get something critical done. I know it is good for our egos to be "needed" and it makes us feel important and secure in our roles, but the bottom line is, you are doing everyone around you a disservice if you hold the only key to important tasks in life.

For instance, I thought I was the only one who could get my kids ready for school with a proper breakfast and a healthy packed lunch but my husband did just fine getting them where they needed to go and it turns out they can pack their own lunches when they need to.  I also learned that I am not the only one who can go grocery shopping, cook dinner, read bedtime stories, check homework, and the list goes on (laundry is still questionable). Thank goodness I was wrong or life would have been miserable for everyone last week.

As far as work was concerned, the things that only I do are all in the important but not priorityurgent category so they could wait for me to return. I found myself prioritizing my job by those things I really needed to get back and get done and those things that I really enjoyed doing and appreciated about having the job I did. As I was lying sick in bed, I was able to really focus on my job and the key elements of what I do and strip away those things that were good to have, but not urgent enough to take precedence when I returned. Being out sick for a few days really makes you recognize where you are wasting time on a regular basis and to get a better focus on how you really should be spending your time and energy.

I urge you to do a sick "trial run". No matter what job you might have, be it a part time job or a six figure job – pretend you are down and out for a few days and prioritize your responsibilities. Make sure there is someone there to back you up, both personally and professionally and most of all, don’t be the only person who can do anything that is critically important. You will be glad you did, because I can tell you from experience, if you get what I got, you will not care if the whole world stops spinning because you can’t get out of bed – you will just want to sleep through it.

One of the first things on my list was to write and post a blog on our website and as luck would have it, my illness provided some great content so that is one thing I can check off as of right now!