Life is full of ups and downs, and unfortunately, none of us get a say in scheduling any of it. Personal crises such as sickness, deaths, emotional breakdowns or a variety of other situations can leave you feeling scattered. When life feels up in the air, it can be hard to stay on track with work obligations. Deadlines get missed, e-mails get ignored and it’s easy for the quality of your work to suffer.
Difficult times are unavoidable, but it is possible to keep them from messing with your work too much. Here are a few helpful steps.
1. Communicate honestly with your employers.
If something like a health issue or a death in the family is going to affect your schedule and your ability to meet deadlines, be up front with your editors and bosses. Keep it professional by not getting too emotional or too into details, but don’t just fall off the face of the planet.
A quick, “Hi, This is happening to me and I wanted to let you know it might affect my work in this way but I will do what I can to stay on track,” e-mail can go a long way. A good boss will be supportive and understanding.
2. Schedule plenty of “me time.”
Even when things are going well, devoting time to yourself can be difficult. When life gets messy, it’s even more crucial to dedicate some serious (wo)man hours to self-care. Schedule an evening to cooking yourself a nice meal, taking a long bath, practicing some restorative yoga or whatever else you need to do to keep your mind healthy.
Don’t forget that your mind is your number one asset. Keep your mind strong and fit, and your work won’t suffer.
3. Talk to your friends.
While it’s important to focus on yourself, it’s just as important to reach out for help. Even if you’re not ready to talk to friends about what’s going on in your life, merely spending time in the presence of people you love and trust will help keep you at the top of your game.
4. Find time to make creative work for yourself.
One of the biggest challenges of producing creative content for a living is you sometimes have to sacrifice the work you do on your own, for fun. With a daily life full of deadlines, there’s no always time to create things just for yourself and your own pleasure.
When life’s got you down, though, flexing your creative muscles is more important than ever. Lean into your creative outlet and try to process things through your chosen medium, whether it’s writing, design, art, etc. Sometimes, an artist’s best work can come out of his or her most difficult times.