This blustery season of winter — filled with early darkness and sometimes, if we’re lucky, little flurries of pure white snow — is often the time I find myself picking up whichever nasty cold is lurking around unsuspecting corners. And while the main thing about colds is that they can absolutely floor you, bringing with them sky-high fevers, runny noses, and tickly back-of-the-throat coughs, it can actually be worse once they’re over. Because once you emerge bleary-eyed from piles of cosy blankets a week or so later, life has moved on, and you’re left having to catch up on things.
The following four-step system is what I use when I’m in dire need of a cold-induced catch-up, and I’ve found it to be ridiculously easy to follow when my head is still a little woolly, so I’m happy to share it with you today.
1. Tidy your home
When you’re out with a cold, your home tend to get somewhat neglected. The first thing I do when I’m feeling better, therefore, is tidy up.
I open up the window wide and air out the bedroom for at least thirty minutes, change the sheets, and clean any surfaces that I have touched (e.g. nightstand, door handles) with an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. I also toss in a load of laundry and tidy up all other areas that may have gotten messy while I was sick.
Since my energy is usually on the low side when I’m still recovering, I don’t tend to do more than this superficial tidying, but I find it to be a great starting point for getting back on track.
2. Update your calendar
Often, although especially because of a cold, plans can change. The second thing I do when I’m on the mend, therefore, is to take out my planner and look at my monthly calendar. I then take the following three steps:
- Remove any appointments/events that were cancelled.
- Add any new appointments/events that were made that may not have been noted down yet.
- Make a list of any follow-up actions I need to take to reschedule appointments/events.
To round off this step, I complete all of the follow-up actions I have listed under “3”. I make phone calls (leaving messages using my voicemail system if required) and send any text or e-mails containing all the necessary information to make a new appointment.
Then, once I receive a response, I add that information to my calendar. This way, my calendar is back to being fully up-to-date.
3. Do a mind sweep
With a tidy home and an updated calendar, I find a piece of paper and a pen and take 15 minutes to write down all of the tasks that come to mind, whether they are big or small. I call this doing a “mind sweep”, a term from David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
Unfinished tasks tend to accumulate after you’ve been sick for a while, and getting them all down on paper ensures you’re not wasting valuable brain power trying to remember everything. I find that the fifteen minute cut-off time keeps me focused and clears my mind from all the rubbish that had been tottering around up there.
4. Do the most important task
Once all three steps are finished, I complete the fourth and final step: I glance at the list and find the most important task on it. Then, I take a deep breath, and start working on the task right away.
Doing this ensures that I’m getting in the swing of things. And, if the task doesn’t take that long to finish and I still have some energy left, I do the next item on the list, too.
I’ve found that using this easy-to-follow, four-step system after catching a cold is the best way to get back on track, and stop feelings of overwhelm before they can sneak in and become suffocating.
I’d love to hear from you — what do you do to catch-up after you’ve got a cold?