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Five Simple Ways to Stay Productive When You’re Feeling Sick

by Melissa Bell
4 minutes read

Whether you’re a student or a busy professional, for the sake of everyone else you typically come in contact with, it’s best not to go to work or class when you’re feeling ill.

If you can’t go to work but still need to get stuff done, these five tips will help you stay productive during your recovery.

1. Prioritize Your To-Do List

First things first, you need to accept that you might not be able to knock out everything on your to-do list when you’re feeling under the weather. Instead of beating yourself up over this, take some time to prioritize your tasks and decide what absolutely needs to be done.

Pick one or two of your most pressing issues and focus on getting those taken care of.

If you don’t have any really pressing assignments, but you don’t want to be really far behind when you get back to work, you can also take care of work that’s easy to get done and doesn’t require a lot of brain power.

This is an especially good approach that can help you tackle tasks that you’ve been putting off, such as sending emails or organizing files.

This kind of busy work is great to handle when you’re sick. It doesn’t require a lot of brain power, but, you’ll still feel accomplished when it’s done.

2. Get Warm

If you’re feeling sick, one of the best things you can do to give yourself an energy boost is to spend some time heating your body up before you start trying to work.

Your temperature is most likely already elevated as your body tries to fight off germs. To help this process along, you can try taking a warm bath or shower. Drinking a cup of tea or a baking soda solution will also warm you up while helping to detoxify your body.

Warming up with a bath or shower will also help to clear your sinuses and give you a burst of energy and help you be more productive.

You may feel even better if you add some eucalyptus oil (which has some analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits) to the floor of your shower.

3. Get Comfortable, But Not Too Comfortable

When you’re not feeling your best, it’s tempting to wrap up in a bunch of blankets and get as comfortable as you can.

You shouldn’t be uncomfortable while you work, but, if you get too comfortable, you may find yourself feeling tempted to just go to sleep.

If you absolutely need to get some work done, try to turn your bed or the couch into a makeshift office. Laptop desks are great for giving you an at-home workspace and will put you in the mood to tackle your to-do list.

You should also dress warmly (wear a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and warm socks) so that you don’t have to pull out all the blankets. That way, you’ll be comfortable, but you won’t be as tempted to curl up and take a nap.

4. Change the Way You Approach Tasks

In addition to prioritizing your to-do list, another way to stay productive while working at home is to change the way you approach the tasks you need to accomplish.

On a typical work or school day, you might not have any trouble staying focused for hours at a time. When you’re sick, though, you may find that your attention span does not last as long as it usually does.

Instead of fighting this, try working in shorter bursts and taking frequent (but short) breaks. The Pomodoro technique (working for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break) is a great option for people who are struggling to stay focused but want to be as productive as possible.

5. Know Your Limits

Finally, it’s important to know when to just let yourself rest. If you absolutely cannot focus or your symptoms just seem to be getting worse, give yourself permission to close the laptop and take a nap.

Sleep is essential for recovery, so you need to make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount to fight off whatever kind of illness you’re dealing with.

Remember, the more you sleep, the sooner you’ll recover and the sooner you can get back to work. Getting some extra rest could actually be the best thing you do for your productivity!

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