What to do when personal issues are affecting your performance

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Maybe you’ve just broken up with your boyfriend or girlfriend of three years. Perhaps you’ve been diagnosed with a serious health condition. Or possibly your son or daughter is being bullied at school.

When personal issues such as relationship problems, health challenges, and family issues occupy your mind and make you emotional, it can have a negative impact on your ability to function properly at work. Instead of experiencing even more stress about possibly underperforming, be proactive, and secure the support you need to get through this difficult time. The following steps can help:

  • Determine what you need. As Amy Gallo states in her Harvard Business Review article titled “What to Do When a Personal Crisis Is Hurting Your Professional Life,” it’s important to decide what you need and what resources you have. For example, maybe a family member or neighbor can help out with some of your day-to-day responsibilities so you have more downtime. At the same time, determine whether or not you could benefit from flexwork or time off.
  • Inform your supervisor. In the Forbes article “How to Handle a Personal Crisis at Work,” Marjie Terry advises informing your supervisor as soon as you think your work will be affected. This is also a good time to ask him or her for additional support if necessary, whether that’s help from another team member, some telecommuting time, or another form of support.
  • Review your benefits. According to Melody J. Wilding in her article titled “How to Stay Productive at Work When a Personal Crisis Is Taking Over Your Life” for The Muse, your company might offer benefits that could help, such as child support, legal advice or counseling.
  • Don’t overshare. It’s understandable that your colleagues might be concerned about you, and when you’re emotional, it’s easy to share your troubles. However, before doing so, give some thought to how much you want your professional and private lives to blend.
  • Create a to-do list and stick to it. Make sure you’ve accomplished everything on your list by the end of the day — even if it means taking a few more short breaks in between to get your focus back.
  • Schedule time for yourself. Set aside time to do something you enjoy, whether that’s going for a long walk, reading a book, or listening to music. This will provide you with some quiet time and help you replenish your energy.

Everyone experiences challenges now and then. What’s key is to take the right steps to navigate the difficult time so that when it passes — which it will — your professional life won’t have suffered.






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