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5 Ways to be Productive When You Are Sick

I have had a cold since Monday. It started with a little tickle in my throat Sunday night, so I started taking the vitamin

C and zinc tablets, but it didn’t help. I knew it wouldn’t. I am with high school kids several days per week directing their musical and the entire cast has been sick one by one. It’s difficult to get a good rehearsal in while working around people, but working around the director is a whole other problem. Thank goodness the weather cooperated. School was closed early Tuesday, so rehearsal was cancelled by default. Yesterday I simply had to call in sick and leave my musical director to conduct rehearsal alone. (‘Sorry Jason!) It’s much easier when there are two of us to run rehearsals. I can give him short breaks as we go by clarifying a direction that comes up in the music or telling them the blocking I plan to give them during a song to give them the feeling of the piece, etc.

So today I am feeling slightly less dead and wondered what I could do for my business with barely half my brain and very little energy. Keep in mind rest and fluids are always my recommendation. Just take a day or two off, but I’ve been down for four days now and I’m bored with TV, can’t focus terribly well and am starting, ever so slowly, that upward climb toward health, so I bellied up to my computer to see what was possible. I came up with five ideas that might make you feel a little less guilty about laying around when you get sick the next time.


1. YouTube

The first thing I thought about was watching a few YouTube videos. I use it to help me come up with ideas for the shows I direct, but I also follow a few YouTube channels such as Gary Vaynerchuk’s Daily Vee, Entrepreneur and TED Talks. The latter is where I discovered I am a multipotentialite thanks to Emilie Wapnick’s TED talk “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling.”  You can find anything on YouTube and though it can be a time-sucker, it’s also a great way to learn new things. If you’re that sick and don’t want to do anything that resembles work, look up the best way apply eyeshadow for brunettes or something. There are videos on absolutely everything.

2. Tackle That Gmail Inbox

I had literally thousands of emails sitting in my inbox. I’ve been trying to do this forever and finally got to, well not the bottom, but at least the non-starred items are gone! It’s mindless clicking. Click on unstarred at the top of your Gmail page, then look through to make sure something important and new isn’t starred. When you’re sure you have junk or things you can’t possible get to this week and is really not going to kill you if you delete it, hit delete and you’ve gotten closer to the bottom. It’s a great feeling of clearing out the junk.

3. Look for Likeminded Bloggers

Look around for bloggers that are reaching the same or similar audiences. You might even find someone doing something completely different, but it complements what you are doing with your blog. Send a simple email asking if you can guest post or if they would like to guest post on yours. It doesn’t have to be filled with how many unique hits you get or other facts about your blog. Just give them a simple rundown on the types of posts you publish, send them the link to your blog and see what they say. I advise keeping a list of who you contacted so when they come back to you, you know what they are talking about. Write a short synopsis of what they write about on your list so you don’t have to look it up when they get back to you.

4. Write Posts (But Don’t Hit Send!)

Sometimes when I’m sick, I come up with all types of ideas, some good, some awful. Make a list of blog post ideas that might work for your blog or an article. If you have the energy, write a few posts, but for Heaven’s sake, do NOT click POST. You may look at what you wrote later and wonder what the heck you were thinking. This post is being written in jammies with a horrible cold, but I’m writing it. It sounded like a good idea to help others in the same position. I’ll save it and sit with it for a few days and post it another time if it’s still good after I come out of my Nyquil fog.

5. Clean Out Your Electronic Files

I don’t know about you, but I have tons of old files sitting in file upon file on my computer. It was so liberating to delete an entire folder of junk. I had not worked with this client in about 10 years and had no need for anything in that file should I work with them again. I moved any finished articles to my CLIPS file, checked if anything else needed to be moved and then just deleted the entire thing. Poof! Tons of data dumped from my computer. When I was finished, I scanned the computer to get rid of the junk and update the security and I was finished.

As I said before, while it is best to lay low, drink lots of water and tea, and binge on Netflix when you’re sick, if you start feeling better and want to start easing back into your work week, try some of these harmless activities. These are things you are always trying to squeeze in during your work week anyway, so get them done during your unavoidable downtime.

Feel better!

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