There are times when life seems to be too much to handle. Sometimes it's a sudden blow, and other times it's a slow but sure ruin. Relationships, deaths, health issues, confrontations, and a plethora of other things that could go wrong. But when your alarm goes off, when you get that work email, the bills come in, and your fridge is almost empty, you're suddenly slapped with reality. Life must keep on happening. It. Must. Go. On.
How can one possibly be productive if life is in shambles? The truth is that it will most likely be extremely tough. I can vouch for that fact. You will need to be actively involved in how you deal with the situation. Here are some pieces of advice on how to stay professional and productive when life is knocking you down.
If you trust them enough, let others know
Leaders may be more understanding than they are commended for, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance benefits both you and the company. However, disclosing a personal issue to your manager may have unexpected consequences. Even though it is against the law, your issues may prevent you from advancing in the future. On the other hand, telling your boss may increase your trust quotient, increasing your value as an employee. The bottom line is to get to know your supervisor before spilling the beans.
The same goes for your co-workers. Coping with a personal crisis at work will almost certainly affect your performance. Most employers and co-workers will be compassionate if you tell them. Your manager may also be more accommodating when it comes to things like taking multiple days off to go to court or meet with attorneys. Plan ahead of time. Don't expose yourself to criticism. You may be surprised by how workmates or employers perceive issues such as divorce, financial difficulties, or your uncontrollable son or daughter. Maintain a professional demeanor. Tell people what they have to know and then move on.
Take a break and collect yourself
You'd rather be in Maui, but you need to take care of yourself now and then. Don't be tight with your vacation time. Use your vacation time if you need a few days away from the desk to deal with a difficult situation. Just don't stay away for too long, or you'll struggle to come back. Spend time establishing rituals for your "new normal." Spending some vacation days getting settled in and establishing habits can help with the shift, making it easier to return to work. Use calendars, organizational apps, make lists and charts to put time management tools in place that will allow you to complete significant priorities.
Professional help can help
Even after attempts to solve problems, they usually exacerbate them. That is when professional assistance can come in handy. The purpose of sharing this alternative is to let you know that it's perfectly fine if you need to see an advisor, a psychotherapist, or another professional expert to get all the help you require. Sometimes, you're so deep in the water that you can no longer swim back up. People are designed to help one another. If you need it, don't hesitate to seek help. It is preferable to take an objective view of a circumstance so that your thought processes do not lead you down a dangerous spiral of falsehoods.
There may come the point when you need to step away from the whole thing, particularly if it interferes with your work performance. For instance, if you're in a back-and-forth with an ex, you should ask yourself if you're achieving anything. Unless it is a life-threatening scenario, you may want to restrain your contact with the person you are warring with. Set strict boundaries around your working time to avoid problems that could jeopardize your job.
Just do it anyway
Sometimes keeping your head on solid is the fittest option you could do for the situation. Concentrate on the task at hand. Focus on what's manageable. Refocus on what you can do, and you will begin to feel motivated enough to seek out ways to improve the situation. You could also try something other than work. Starting a new project during a personal tragedy may be too adventurous, but trying to take care of upkeep or housework items that are often neglected can be a pleasant diversion. Clear your mailbox, reorganize your utensil drawer, or KonMari your son's sock drawer. These mind-numbing activities may be exactly what the doctor ordered to divert your attention away from the significant issue.
When everything at home is crashing down, going to work may be the only thing that's keeping you level-headed. Make the most of it. Set limits on how frequently you check-in. Advise family members and friends that you will only call them at work if the situation is below a certain importance level and that you will check-in at fixed times to hear the less significant updates. This ensures that there are no important revelations and helps to keep communication simplified for everyone.
Do something about your physical health
When your life is a mess, it's critical to look after your general well-being. That means preparing healthy meals rather than ordering takeout for the fourth time in a row. That means taking a long walk or run outside to get some fresh air and natural light. It also entails taking the stairwells rather than the elevator. You could also work out at the gym. If you're working from home and trying to keep yourself active simultaneously, explore using under-desk bikes that you can use even while working at your desk. The Sit2Go 2-in-1 Fitness Chair allows you to position it under your desk or by your countertop or bar table if that's where you work while cycling. It would let you even take it outside effortlessly as it comes with casters for smooth rolling to anywhere within the vicinity of your home. Get some sunlight in the morning by cycling outside with your desk bike. No need to go to the gym!
If you're not quite ready to go outside, try a YouTube exercise playlist that you can do at home. Taking care of the body can avoid other potential issues that can catch you off guard. You also help keep your body strong if the source of your annoyance is a medical condition.
Don't be overjoyed or overly depressed. Maintaining a charade is exhausting, so do your best to keep a sense of stability at work regardless. If a personal tragedy does spring up, this will assist you in better concealing it if that is your preference. Being truthful at work and in life is usually the most straightforward approach. However, it is critical to think about the situation from all vantage points. Make a daily effort to keep your emotional state in check, and the tough times will be easier to bear.
Others matter too
We may disengage, experience dampened emotions, or struggle to come to terms with others. Remember that you weren't the only one dealing with significant issues, even though it may appear to be the case. Acknowledge those who assist you in both large and small ways when the time comes. Recognize co-workers who lend an ear or take on extra tasks, both to them and yourself. This can help you realize that people care about you, even if you feel isolated at times.
As a teammate, try not to judge
Fellow employees are always eager to make snide remarks such as, "You look tired today." They don't consider that you could be away from the office for something unpleasant. As unusual as it may sound, or the first time in your life, you'd rather be at work. Fight the temptation to drop some bombs on these people by informing them of what's going on. It may be pleasurable for a brief moment, but it is not pleasant in the long run. Allow these remarks to ricochet off of you and never comment on others.
Work can be the supreme escape from your situation. It's not pleasant to consider, but if you're struggling with a tough time in your private life, work can be a huge relief. Bad times pass. So, when you finally get that happy moment, remember to enjoy it.