How to handle tragedy gracefully (and most importantly, professionally)

I’m sure most of the people I work with directly already know, but for those who don’t, I’m pretty dedicated to the quality of work I produce. But no matter who you are, and how amazingly stealthy your work ethic, sometimes forces beyond our control step directly into our path of greatness, and happily sling disasters, tragedies, and whatever else it can pile on your plate- not like you had anything else going on, of course.

I’ve written posts on the importance of balancing life and work (here) but I think it deserves revisiting-especially after the week I’ve had. Personally speaking, the last week for me has been hectic to say the absolute least (think: rain water leading to flooding, leading to ceiling collapsing, hotels-complete with our two cats, moving across town in 3 days, etc. etc); but no matter what happened, I made sure to keep my coworkers & clients directly in the loop. Not to say we didn’t realize some cracks in our system, but that’s important to note too.

During the whole ordeal, it really helped me realize what the disconnects are when something tragic happens in our life, and how we handle that professionally can absolutely make all of the difference once we pick up the pieces.

Communicate, nay, word barf, your situation. 

Letting people know  what’s currently going on- a death in the family, an urgent sickness- whatever it is, will help allow people to be more empathetic to your situation, allowing for more support and understanding. Essentially, giving you a security blanket feeling before you even get INVOLVED. Being as open and knowledgeable as you can will also cut down on your explanation time, especially if you’ve spurned some harsh feelings for temporarily being MIA.

Update. Update. Update.

Remember when I said word barf? Keep this in your mind. The river of info has got to keep flowing in order to maintain any sort of normalcy with business matters, while personal matters keep spazzing out your attention span. How do you do this? twitter, facebook, email, text. The world we live in is a flurry of overextended information. Take utmost advantage.

Work slowly, and Build back up

This is the step I have the hardest time with. After taking a nice calm right turn out of tragedy land, I always want to hit my to-do list with mach10 force. I have to overcompensate for all of the hours I lost, I say. You know where this gets me? Overwhelmed, frustrated, and with totally bashed in productivity. After this whole hotel/moving debacle, I knew I needed to get back into high gear- and FAST.

While my french press isn’t even set up (the HORROR!), I know I can still pick 2-3 tasks, concentrate on them at a disturbing level, and I can at least have the quality of work back to normal. Today I will bring in 4-5 tasks, and repeat until I’m back to my regularly scheduled maximalized craziness I happily call my work load.  I liken the idea to juggling- who starts juggling with 6 balls? No one! And no one would expect you to, but if you start slow and build up, you will absolutely get to your awesome sauce A-game within no time.

What about you? How do you find ways to ease back into normalcy after a tornado of crazy hit your life?

Until next time!


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