Managing Productivity: How to Focus at Work When in a Personal Crisis

Managing Productivity: How to Focus at Work When in a Personal Crisis was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Going through a rough patch in your life can affect your productivity at work. Whether you are mourning the loss of a loved one, caring for a sick relative, having some mental health issues, or facing financial problems, it’s easy to get distracted.

Your mind may wander when you’re supposed to be working on a time-sensitive project. You may also have emotional outbursts when feeling overwhelmed.

Finding ways to focus on your job when dealing with a personal crisis can help you push through challenging periods. It gives you a sense of purpose and pride when other parts of your life are falling apart.

Let’s explore some strategies you can use to manage your productivity at work during a crisis.


☑ Be Kind to Yourself

A personal crisis may be mentally draining, lowering your focus at work. Adjusting to the situation will take some time, especially if you’re often at the top of your game. You are likely to feel frustrated when you make mistakes due to poor concentration or miss deadlines because you were distracted.

Treat yourself with kindness to triumph through a personal crisis and stay productive at work. Don’t criticize yourself when you don’t meet some goals. Instead, celebrate small achievements and set realistic targets based on your current limit.

You may feel tempted to take some work home if you have a heavy workload and can’t focus in the office. This may help you meet deadlines, but you still need time to decompress after an exhausting day.

Set aside enough time to relax after work to be your best the next day. Plan your tasks and start with the most challenging ones so you can handle the simpler tasks at the end of your day.

Group projects can relieve some pressure when dealing with a crisis. Volunteer for less draining tasks to preserve your mental energy, or ask the project manager to give you work that isn’t time-sensitive.


☑ Lean on Your Support System

Your support system will be key in helping you stay focused when in a personal crisis. Have a few people you trust that you can call when feeling stressed or join online support groups.

If your loved one isn’t feeling well, get a close relative or friend to look after them. Once you know they are in good hands, it will be easier to focus when you are at work. Besides, you can easily check in during your break if you’re feeling worried,

Your friends may not always know how you want them to assist you during a crisis. If you are going through a divorce or a bad breakup, they might be unaware of how they can help you prevent it from affecting your work life.

Be honest with your loved ones about what’s going on, and if possible, explain how they can help. For example, you may request them to call you for a few minutes daily until you feel better. You may also ask them to spend more time with you or help you pay for therapy.


☑ Talk to Your Manager

You can easily navigate some personal issues without informing your manager. This will be possible if you treat work as an escape and tune out other aspects of your life once you clock in. However, not everyone can do this, so you might need to talk to your manager about what’s happening in your life.

Determine how much information you’re willing to share about your crisis. After that, schedule a sit down with your manager and inform them how the situation affects you.

It’s common to feel embarrassed or afraid to discuss personal issues with your boss. But remember that they are more likely to go easier on you if they know about your problem.

Your manager may suggest taking time off when they learn about your crisis. They may also propose dropping a specific project or reassigning you to a different one.

Assessing the workload and stress you can handle will help you know how to respond to such suggestions. If you don’t want to take some time off or let go of a project, mention other ways you are using to cope. Doing this will reassure your boss that you can still achieve optimal productivity and deliver per the expectations.


☑ Set Some Boundaries

When you inform your loved ones about things going on in your life, they may call and text often. While they do this out of concern, being on your phone constantly can affect your focus at work.

Set boundaries by asking loved ones not to contact you during work hours. If they must, inform them about your coffee and lunch breaks. Avoid lengthy talks during these periods, as they can quickly interrupt your schedule without you noticing.

You will likely worry about your problems even when you try not to and this can affect your professional journey. When it’s hard to avoid negative thoughts, give yourself about five minutes to think about the situation. After that, distract yourself with work so you aren’t constantly sad and stressed. This strategy helps you control your thoughts and reset your focus.


☑ Review Your Employee Benefits

Many workplaces have various solutions to help employees navigate stressful times. Some offer custom wellness programs and affordable mental health resources. Others give their workers flexible work schedules and allow them to work from the convenience of their home.

Taking advantage of your employee benefits will make it easier to focus in a stressful situation. Explain your case to HR and ask them about the resources they can offer.

If the help you need isn’t available, find out if the employer can make some accommodations. Be proactive by listing the exact assistance you need to stay productive in your role. You may be surprised when your employer grants requests that will significantly ease your situation.


Don’t Let a Personal Crisis Sabotage Your Productivity

We all go through tough times in our lives, but there are steps you can take to stay focused at work. Don’t be afraid to accept help from loved ones and colleagues because it will only benefit your career. Seek professional help when needed and leverage all the resources you can access to better your situation.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.