I recently caught a flu virus that disrupted my schedule for about a week. As I’m sure you’ve experienced, the being sick part is no fun, but the coming back from being sick can also feel overwhelming if you are feeling behind or have a lot on your plate.

I thought I would share some of the ways that I reset when I’m digging out of a backlog:

  1. Make a master list. I start by collecting the tasks that I need to do into one place so that I can start to get a handle on how I want to prioritize the things that I need to get done.
  2. Divide to conquer. Once I have the master list, I start to break it down into categories. For example, I look at the things that I can multi-task (like laundry and dishes that can be running at the same time). I also look at the things I can delegate (what can my partner take on to help me?).
  3. Get tasks scheduled. Knowing what’s on the list helps me to start scheduling out tasks at appropriate times. I often use the notes app on my phone to create weekend lists for myself, but when I’m resetting, I’ll often make daily lists of what I want to accomplish so that I can see the progress I’m making.
  4. Ask for extensions. I had a couple things that I had to shift deadlines for while I was sick that involved other people. I just reached out to colleagues to let them know the new time window I was planning for to make sure they had the latest update.
  5. Tidy up. Following a sickness, it always feels so good to change the sheets, air out the house, get all the laundry caught up, clean my kitchen, and just do all the other cleaning and organizing tasks that help me to feel like my house is back under control.
  6. Order more medicine. With my partner and I both sick at the same time, we depleted our medicine stash. We like to keep cold and flu basics stocked at all times, so we’ll be getting some more sinus medicine and cough drops to replenish what we used.
  7. Get back to regular routines. As I write this, I got back to my regular workouts this morning. It felt so good! I wanted to wait until my cough had abated, which was almost two full weeks from when I first started getting sick. I’m glad that I gave myself the amount of time I needed to be fully ready to go back.
  8. Choose a realistic catch-up deadline. Knowing the master list that I’m working with, I decided to choose a date as a deadline where I would try to be fully caught up. I don’t want important tasks to linger, especially if other people are waiting on me, so having a deadline ensures that I can get back on my feet in a reasonable amount of time.

Using all of these strategies, I’ll be back to my caught-up state about three weeks after I first got sick. It helps me to know about how long it takes to bounce back, both physically and with the tasks on my plate, so that I can have that in mind for any future illnesses that might come up.

How do you like to reset after a period of being unwell?