If you're from Texas or Florida, then you may have recently had to figure out how to get back to business after a natural disaster. After just having dealt with Hurricane Irma myself, I can tell you from first-hand experience that being productive before, during and immediately after a hurricane seems nearly impossible.
That being said, eventually things do start to normalize and you're met with a mountain of work as you play catch up. The sheer overwhelm alone is enough to make you want to curl up into a ball under the covers.
You can't hide forever though. And bills don't pay themselves. Here are some ways on how to get back to business after a natural disaster strikes.
Do take the time to recuperate.
While it's tempting for business owners to want to pretend like everything is fine and we can get back to work, the reality is things are not fine after a natural disaster.
You're likely exhausted and depending on the situation, you probably don't have power either. You can't even drive to the office after a natural disaster because roads are blocked.
That being said, once your personal cleanup efforts are complete, take time to recuperate. In my case, I helped clean up two houses and my apartment after the hurricane. I was absolutely spent. While my brain was telling me, "You should go back to work ASAP" my body was saying "You need to rest first."
I decided to listen to my body. Truth be told the last thing I needed was to get sick after a hurricane. I'd lost enough money as it was, I didn't need to add to it by getting sick.
The end result was when I did return to work, I had a clear mind and my body had the energy it needed. This allowed me to be extremely productive and get back on track with far less frustration.
Start small to build momentum.
A few days after Hurricane Irma, I had finally gotten power but still had no internet. Fortunately, my coworking space did. I decided to head on over there with the intention of only handling little things.
My brain was still foggy from the entire ordeal, so trying to do client work would have been disastrous. Instead, I focused on small things like writing a couple of blog posts for my own website and delegating emails. These things may have been tiny, but it did help me build momentum and it helped me feel less overwhelmed.
Focus on the present.
A week after the storm hit, I had both power and internet. That's when I decided it was time to really get back to business. The only way I was able to do this was to focus on the present moment so I could work on what was directly in front of me.
I had to remind myself that the storm was over, the drama was settling and things were getting back to normal. It was a new day and it was time to put the storm behind me so I could get back to my business and my life.
Try a change of scenery.
The last thing that helped me really get back to business was a change of scenery. Rather than working from home or going to my co-working space, I had the idea to go to a coffee shop. By this point, most places had power and internet again.
When you do creative work for a living, sometimes you need to physically change your space for the ideas to come through again. Leaving my apartment also helped put me in the mental state that it was time to work. It worked because I ended up having one of the most productive days I've had in weeks.
As a bonus, the barista gave me an extra shot of espresso because it had been a long week for everyone.
As with everything, time goes on after natural disasters too. The key to getting back to work is to allow yourself space to recuperate and ease back into business.