For the past couple of days I haven't been well. First, it was summer flu. Then I had a very bad toothache which resulted with me having an extraction yesterday morning. If you've ever had a wisdom tooth removed, then you know the kind of pain I was in yesterday. I took heavy painkillers, but while they numbed some of the pain, they also made me loopy. I slept a lot and when I was awake, my brain was not functioning well. Today was not much of an improvement.
The problem is that I had deadlines to meet and requests to do assignments. And while clients are also human beings who understand that illness rarely gives one a warning, I also don't want to be a liability.
So how did I juggle deadlines with my sick?
1. See a healthcare professional - Over the years, I have learnt that my health is one of my greatest assets. Without it, I can't function well. So it's better to address health issues as soon as they arise, instead of trying to be brave.
2. Inform your client - The client needs to know as soon as possible that you're not well and what impact this will have on the project. I'm still on a learning curve on that one, because I hate to be HER. You know her, she never delivers anything without drama. When the deadline looms, she's either sick/has a death in the family/had car trouble/her computer crashed. Usually, there is no way you can dispute her excuses, because they sound so reasonable. But clients usually wish she'd just give them what they asked for on time, without issues. So balancing the issue of disclosure with having as little drama as possible is still difficult for me.
3. Do what you can - If there is anything you can push through to your client as a matter of urgency, do it. The client will appreciate it.
4. Ask for help - This is not always as easy as it sounds, because once you get involved with a project, you gain insight that allows you to move quickly through the work, while someone coming in late in the project will take longer. Balance those issues and decide whether it will benefit you to wait until you're better ( if it's a temporary health issue) or whether you should shout ask for help. Help can come from your freelancer friends, or it can come from the client, depending on your arrangements.
5. Learn to say no - I felt bad for a regular client who contacted me yesterday, asking for quick help on a project. But I was in no shape to finish what was on my plate, never mind taking on additional responsibilities. So I had to say a firm NO.
Anyhoo, these are the coping strategies I learnt the past couple of days. I hope they benefit you too.