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Running a business when you're sick

Tuesday, 1 October 2013 | By Amanda Jesnoewski

Unfortunately good health doesn’t come with a guarantee and at some point we all have to face the inevitable of running a business while we are sick. While there are many benefits to owning a business, one of the downsides is we don’t all have the luxury of calling in sick, our work doesn’t stop just because we have to.


It can be a rather stressful time. Not only do you have to deal with being sick, you also have urgent tasks and deadlines looming over your head and you still have to manage and meet the expectations of your clients.


Knowing this all too well at the moment, I thought I would share six tips for managing a business and busy workload while you are sick:


1. Revise your to-do list


When you are sick you and aren’t functioning at your best you need to be ruthless with your to-do list. If it doesn’t have a pressing deadline, it's not bringing you in money straight away or there isn’t a cost if you don’t do it immediately, then put it on a separate to-do list for when you are back on your normal work schedule.


2. Understand you won’t get everything done


The sooner you accept that you won’t get everything done when you are sick, the better for your sanity. If you spend all your time thinking about your deadlines, to-dos and all the work you should be doing, you will only stress yourself out more which won’t help your recovery.


Take it easy, look at it as though your most important task is getting better, then once you’ve completed that you will be able to tackle your other tasks.


3. Renegotiate deadlines and reschedule meetings


Sometimes when you are sick you will need to renegotiate deadlines and reschedule meetings and calls. When this is the case contact your client as soon as possible, the more notice the better, and negotiate a second deadline or organise another meeting.


Communication really is key through this process, while most people will understand your predicament, how well you deal with this situation will determine your level of professionalism.


4. Set a ‘catch-up’ plan


Try not to push yourself too hard if you aren’t well enough to get through your work. Instead grab a notepad and plan how you will attack your work when you do feel better, writing down any ideas or notes that will make tasks quicker and easier to complete when you are well again.


5. Ask for help


If you have urgent projects and tasks that can’t be rescheduled, ask for help. The more you can delegate or outsource when you are sick, the more you can focus on your recovery.


If you haven’t already, build a professional support system of people you can outsource and delegate to in times of need. It could be an employee, contractor, specialist, cooperative competitor or an alliance. Whoever you choose, it also pays to have a backup in case they are too busy when you need them.


6. Give yourself guilt-free rest time


In order to get back to your normal productive self you need to allow yourself time to recover, so make sure you build in time to rest.


This should be guilt-free rest time where you don’t stress yourself out thinking about what needs to be done. Instead allow yourself to take the necessary steps to get better quicker, something both you and your business need you to do.


Do you have any tips for balancing work when you are sick?