How to manage work when dealing with personal hardship

Sometimes, we’re in a difficult situation in the life. This article is to discuss some options on how to ensure we’re able to work while dealing through a difficult personal circumstances.

In my article about life principles, I mentioned the need of having a clarity of the work priorities. Many of us go through difficulties in personal life. For example, you might have an ill family member to take care of, or going through a marriage arrangement, or a divorce situation. In such difficult situations, managing work and life balance could be tough. It could be difficult to deal with the emotions at work. If you have difficulty in managing work/life balance, contact a trustworthy psychologist and other local resources to help you.

Here are few personal tips how I will deal with such a situation while not letting the work impact:

  • I will let my manager know what personal challenge I am going through. It seems simple and obvious but sometimes we miss the value of it. Even if it’s a simple personal situation that might impact the work, it helps to let the manager know about it.
  • When interacting with stakeholders (like peers, project members, or a client), it’s okay to let them honestly know, that I am going through some rough time that might impact some work. I’ll just share about the mood, not the actual problem. Also I will let them know that my intention is to do the best possible work. We all are human and we understand that anyone could be in such a situation.
  • At any situation, knowing the priority of your work deliverables is always very important. I always attempt to know the answers to these questions:
    • What’s the first, second, and third most important work deliverables expected from me?
    • What’s my first priority work deliverable today, this week, and this month?
    • If you have only 4 hours in the day, can I take care of my most important work deliverables?
  • I will work with my manager to help him/her understand what work deliverables I can realistically deliver given the personal situation. I will try to not overcommit. In fact, I will plan for 75% of the tasks that I am confident I can take care of. Reason is, we all have a tendency to overcommit.
  • At work, I will go in a transactional and a mission mode to complete the important work deliverables within the least possible time limit.
  • I will go in a bare minimum work survival mode. That could mean I will have no time to network more than required, no time to join meetings where I am not required, and no time to say Yes when I can only say No.
  • At work, I will ensure to speak only required and speak only about work.
  • I will wrap up the work in no more than planned hours. I will create a hard boundary of work and personal life. That means, I will not be able to work after the work hours. Remember. It’s a personal hardship that needs my attention after the work. So, after work, do take care of the personal situation.
  • During the work, I maybe distracted with emotions related to personal situation. I will learn to delay the decision to go back/think about the personal situation just after the work. If needed, I will schedule a meeting with myself after the work, to think through the personal situation. If I am disciplined to respect the work and personal time boundaries, I will be able to delay the personal tasks after the work.
  • I’ll definitely contact a trustworthy counselor, psychologist, or a related help, to help me deal with my situation.
  • I’ll also look for people who are in a similar situation. I will learn from them to deal with such a personal hardship and how they managed or managing their work/life balance.
  • If I am not able to work without distractions, I will work with my manager to work either part time or take time off, to take care of the situation.

As I learn more, I’ll share more.

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