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Dealing with grief is an unfortunate fact of life. But when you run a business, your ability to handle loss can affect your company and your employees.
As the leader of a company, you may already be accustomed to maintaining high levels of productivity. It’s that self-discipline and drive that got you to the top. However, no matter how hard you compartmentalize feelings or put on a front, we’re all human, and life happens. Tough situations arise that force us to deal with other things outside of business.
These situations can sideline or discourage even the most productive business owner or executive. Although many of us stay resilient through grief, for others, it can be much more difficult.
No matter how you respond to grief, though, the needs of your small business won’t change. You still must adjust your product to fit evolving markets as well as tackle daily problems and duties that inevitably arise. In other words, taking time away completely just may not be an option. You’ll need strategies that can take the pressure off if you have to go back to work sooner than you’d like.
Here are some approaches that can help keep your productivity levels strong, even during tough times.
1. Adjust your expectations.
Now is the time to let go of any perfectionist tendencies. Even in the best of times, perfection isn’t possible. Instead, accept a new reality. Dealing with traumatic events and the sadness that comes from them can bring on dramatic emotions at the most unexpected times. You may find that you forget things because you’re distracted.
Grief doesn’t care about deadlines or schedules and can come at any time. Don’t view it as a failure to admit you can’t handle everything during difficult periods.
Instead of always striving for perfection, give yourself more time to complete work. Take on fewer projects. In certain cases, this adjustment in productivity may need to be shared with clients. Offer a brief explanation for why you need more time or will be working fewer hours for a certain period. Customers will likely appreciate what you share and give you that space.
2. Work in short bursts.
There’s no time limit for grief when it’s fresh. No one knows when it may surface or for how long. Sadness and sorrow can wear people down physically and mentally. That’s why working for too long may be counterproductive. A better approach is to undertake short bursts of work, which may help you if you’re having a tough time concentrating.
Try limiting a work session to just one hour. Use a time tracker device to set brief work periods and breaks. In between short bursts of work, compose yourself by taking a quick walk, meditating or reaching out to a friend.
3. Focus on your health.
If there’s any time to focus more on yourself than anyone else, it’s when you’re grieving or handling severe stress. When you’re battling grief, you may feel tired or lack the energy to be productive.
Consult with a doctor about the physical risks associated with grief. A health professional may recommend a specific diet regimen, exercise or rest to promote a brighter outlook and motivate you to feel productive again.
4. Lean on others.
As mentioned, grief doesn’t care about deadlines or schedules and can come at any time. Don’t view it as a failure to admit you can’t handle everything during difficult periods. Instead, seek assistance to ensure clients receive the same level of service you’ve regularly delivered.
Surround yourself with others who can help offset some responsibility. For example, a co-founder or business partner can take over for a short period, if necessary, to give you time to heal. Or, you may be able to delegate more tasks to staff or a remote team. Besides helping ensure business continuity, this decision keeps your staff informed and can help give them a greater sense of ownership.
5. Seek professional assistance.
Sometimes people living with this kind of sadness may not feel as though they’re getting any better. Professional assistance from a therapist, religious leader or a mentor can help here. Recommendations from counselors can change your mindset, address your emotions and offer healthy coping mechanisms.
Nearby hospitals may offer free bereavement groups you can join. Support groups like The Compassionate Friends offer an outlet to verbalize your struggles and hear what others have experienced. They can work with you on a plan to get back to work gradually.
Additionally, nonprofit groups like Open to Hope have grief counselors, online content and other resources with advice and therapy that may help you recover from tough times to get working again.
6. Write it down.
Reading and seeking information from others aren’t the only ways you can get yourself feeling happier and productive. Keeping a journal or expressing your emotions in written form is also effective for bringing relief from painful experiences.
Writing about what’s hurting you emotionally takes away some of its sharpness. It’s healthier than endlessly pondering the loss and trauma you’ve been through.
Writing things down can also be valuable for addressing the forgetfulness that often comes with grief. The last thing you want to do is forget an important deadline or date associated with a key client. Use a cloud-based calendar that you can access through any device to quickly record upcoming events and meetings. These tools can send alerts and reminders. Also, many calendar apps are AI-enabled so they can do some of the work of scheduling, updating and reminding on your behalf.
They say time heals all wounds. The fact is, though, that taking too much time away from your business can be counterproductive. You can seek help from the world outside, or by focusing inward on your own health and wellness. But no matter what you do, you must make an effort to carry on effectively. Be patient with yourself, but use the right strategies where you can to still help your business succeed in the long run.
Photo: Getty Images
Original article here.