Having caught a nasty cold last week, I have been learning about how to be productive while sick. The fact that this might have been brought on, in part, by stress and long hours, I will not dwell on. It brought me up short, though.
Recently, I wrote about a task explosion, and how I managed to survive it [[link]]. Being sick under normal workload is just like having a task explosion. Under normal circumstances, each task gets a certain amount of energy. When you have a task explosion, your energy per task must decrease because you have the same amount of energy, but more tasks.
When you are sick, you have the same number of tasks, but less energy, which gets you the same result: less energy available per task.
However, when you are already under a heightened work load and you fall sick, what do you do?
Health Is The Foundation
Health is the basis for all other work. Your health governs how much energy you can give to anything. When your health is not optimal, you need to get back to the best it can be. Our bodies are phenomenal at healing minor things. Most just take time, and rest.
So the best thing you can do is to listen to your body. Chances are it will need rest, good food, and a slower pace. You would be wise to give into its demands. Of course, this means you will have less time to do the things that need to be done. At this point, I usually go into critical mode.
Critical mode is one where I am doing the bare minimum to keep myself functioning and my dependents cared for (I put both animal and juvenile into this category, since they cannot care for themselves). Critical mode means I serve healthy food, even though it may be very simple. It means that housework gets put on the back burner, except for sanitary stuff: cleaning dishes, removing garbage and minimal laundry. It means that my daughter may not get a bedtime story, and the cats may not get brushed, and dog may not get walked more than around the block. It means allowing myself to take time off from work and other activities. This is for short time only, maybe a few days. But it frees up the demands on me so I can rest and recuperate.
It may sound very bizarre, but I actually find that going into crisis mode means that I am back up to my usual level quicker. I found out the hard way what happens when I try to keep going at full pace when sick; a few years ago I had a cold that turned into bronchitis because I would not rest. And that bronchial cough was with me for six weeks; the low energy for two months. Ick.