Why I Am Working Even Though I Am Sick
I have been thinking about this question all week.
I have been sick since the end of March and after feeling down with no energy, and lots of congestion, I am finally feeling better.
What is ironic is that if I worked a 9 to 5 job I would have called in for a majority of my illness.
And taken the time off.
However, since I am my own boss I chose to still do some work a couple of times while being sick.
What is the difference between being an employee vs. your own boss when you are sick?
I see other entrepreneurs being sick and still working from home or dragging themselves into the office.
Whereas if they were employees they would have called out and let someone else deal with it.
I even chose to work for the past few weeks while sick.
And I am very sensitive to when I need to take time off.
Being your own boss sometimes means that you aren’t very good at delegating other tasks.
And sometimes I chose to get something done instead of going through the hassle of rescheduling it.
However, if I had a boss I would let them deal with all of that.
So what is going on?
Why did I feel compelled to keep working while sick, even though I had every reason not to?
Were the appointments I had that important that they couldn’t be rescheduled?
They were not.
I even thought about canceling them and I didn’t.
I think for me personally, it comes down to a mixture of:
- Making a commitment to someone normally means I will keep it, regardless of how I feel.
- Feeling like if I just suck it up and get it done I won’t have to deal with it anymore.
- I don’t have anyone to delegate to so it all falls on my shoulders anyway.
These are my reasons, and they aren’t right or wrong.
I think that many entrepreneurs feel like they have no one to delegate to, even when they work with a team.
Because they have been working on their own for so long.
They are just used to doing it all on their own.
Then sick days, vacation days, and national holidays all become work days.
Things still have to get done on those days right?
So, we make the sacrifice.
I have to ask, what are we sacrificing for?
Recognizing The Habit I Have Built
Why do I have certain projects that have to get done on a specific day whether I feel great or awful?
I don’t have an answer.
It makes me wonder though if I am always working on days that I would normally have off then it means I am working regardless of how I feel.
I have built the habit that work must happen even if I don’t feel like it.
It makes me feel like I don’t have any choice.
Does this habit still serve me?
I want to bring this up because I want to challenge my preconceived notions about why I have to do some work while sick…
Will I feel lazy otherwise?
By analyzing my behavior this is how I start to identify some underlying beliefs that limit how I am seeing my business and my work.
They are influencing many of the decisions that I am making.
So I need to evaluate if they are actually helping me or not.
These are the questions I am asking myself to gain more clarity around my choices so I can make different choices in the future.
Question #1: Why do I feel compelled to work even when sick?
I know there are things that are on my to-do list to get done.
And I can easily work on them from the couch or in my bed, or on the laptop.
Technology makes it easy for my work to be available all the time.
And there are certain days when specific things have to happen in my business.
I have also chosen not to have someone that I can delegate tasks to who could cover when I am sick.
What action can I take to change this so it looks different next time?
In the future, I want to remedy this and have someone in my business that I can delegate to.
Question #2: Why did I choose to take downtime that I needed to get better and instead use it for work?
After a couple of days of taking it easy and trying to get better, I know that I get bored and will be frustrated that my illness isn’t going away faster.
Out of that frustration and boredom I choose to work to help pass the time.
This is not right or wrong.
I want to be aware of this habit that I have so that I can see it when it happens again.
Then I can decide if it serves me or not.
I think this habit falls into my desire to be useful which can be negative for me at times.
What action can I take to change this so it looks different next time?
It is going to take some time for me to let this habit go in all the areas of my life where it influences my actions.
Right now, awareness is the best place for me to be.
30,000 Foot View
These are my two biggest takeaways from being sick and choosing to work.
I know that my sensitivity to how I spend my time, especially on self-care has increased.
That means that before I burned out, I probably would not have taken any days off of work and just taken medication so I could work from bed.
Now, I know how important downtime is for me to feel rested and ready to go back to work.
This time while I have been sick I have tried to find the best balance for me between working and taking time to get better.
I gave myself permission to take downtime and tried not to judge myself whenever I needed a break or a nap.
In the future, I want to continue to get better at this.
Ready to See A Change In Your Life?
I’ve put together a way for you to evaluate how you are showing up in your life.
The first step is the “30-minute Challenge” that was created specifically for you to use after reading or listening to this blog post.
The challenge will give you a specific action or idea to journal on to help you start to see a change in your life.
Try the challenge and see how you feel when you are doing it.
This is very important to help you start to shift out of old patterns of thought and action.
Then you can use the “Coach Yourself” questions to help you work through things that might be showing up for you.
And identify how you want to show up in the future.
Both of these exercises will help you to create new habits, find balance in your work, and prioritize yourself in your business.
Step 1: 30-Minute Challenge
Take a few minutes to sit and think about or journal on the question and the exercise below:
How do you handle being sick and running your business?
The last time you were sick how long did it last?
What if you had taken that time off from your business? How would it look different?
Take a few minutes to imagine how you would take sick days if you were your own employee?
Challenge Yourself: The next time you are sick what would have to be in place to allow you to not work at all?
Step 2: Coach Yourself
What feelings and emotions come up for you when you think about being sick?
What surprised you about your answers above?
How do you feel when you think about taking time off if you are sick?
What is one thing you can do today to help yourself take sick days in the future?
Take The Next Step…
Get More Support
When you are ready to get more support to make the changes that you want to see in your life set up a free strategy session to get started.
Take the Beat Burnout Quiz
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