You can never anticipate the unexpected. After all, that’s what makes it unexpected. Whether it’s the sudden passing of a love one, a hidden health issue that rears its head, or any sort of accident or surprise that takes away your ability to operate as normal, your productivity always takes a hit.
Some people suffer along in silence, while colleagues and coworkers may notice the performance drop. To avoid this troublesome scenario, some people think about quitting their jobs entirely to focus on the problem. With some of the curveball-management advice in a recent column on Forbes, you can probably avoid either one of these undesirable outcomes and make it through.
Writer Cali Williams Yost draws from her own experience and feedback from others she has talked to to identify three stages of a life work crisis: the initial crisis (the point of absolute highest stress), the holding pattern (in which a person is still doing damage control and finding their way out of the problem), and the post-curveball reality (regaining stability and identifying the reality of the new situation).
Based on the three stages, she offers a series of tips for making your way through a point of crisis without losing your job. Not surprisingly, many of the tips apply to time management in any situation. Most importantly:
1. Ask for help. In time management, we call this delegating. As Williams notes, this can be especially hard for those of us who are used to always being in control, but it’s key. Whether it’s coworkers helping you with some duties on the job or family members or neighbors helping at home, you won’t be able to do everything by yourself.
2. Pay attention to your health. Once you’ve reached the holding pattern phase, Williams recommends finding “moments of wellness”: take a walk, eat a healthy meal, get a good night of sleep. While this may not be possible during the height of crisis, it’s crucial for regaining stability and increasing your overall productivity.
Most people are going to be understanding, and many will be willing to help. The important thing to realize is that you’re not the first person to encounter a personal crisis and you’re equally unlikely to be the last.