Very suddenly my mother and aunt got the news they're terminally ill. My father is chronically ill, his brother just had a stroke and my sister in law is chronically ill as well.

I was dealing with all this very well until the news of my mother came. I discussed this with my manager and HR and they were very supporting and are doing anything they can to help me.

This is great but it also makes me feel more pressured to perform well at my job. I like my job, I work hard to develop myself and would like to stay on this 'good streak'.

I am looking for tips to stay focussed at work, and hopefully to stay able to not have my social life get mixed in with my productivity.

Currently I'm managing time and projects with Trello so I have a good overview in case I get behind because of personal issues. I stay a bit longer (30-45min) at work to read some articles and invest time in personal development in hope of staying motivated.

2 Answers 2


I tell everyone I work with my 3 rules

  • Take care of your own health, both physical and mental. You are useless at work and to your family without good health.
  • Take care of your family. Being mentally in a good place ensures you put your best foot forward at work.
  • Then give your best work

As someone who manages people, I recognize that people aren't always able to concentrate on their work and change my own expectation of them according to the situation.

How an individual accomplishes point 1 and 2 above varies, as a manager I can facilitate but I cannot enforce it. You have already spoken to your manager and he/she seems to from your description be supportive.

In return you have to ensure that when you do come to work and are in the right mindset to do so that you make the most of it and do your best work. Working with your manager you can devise a schedule that allows you more flexibility in work hours to help.

Being organized and providing a clear picture of what you are working on and progress helps a lot - you seem to already do this.

Depending on the illness and your ability to cope with you sense of impending loss you may need to consider taking a sabbatical from work, if you can do it, it's always family first and work second. Family sticks around and work fades/changes.

Bottom line you have to make it work by speaking to your supervisors.

  • 1
    A similar piece of advice I received compared it to putting on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else with theirs. It's nearly impossible to give your best at work if your home life or even your own mind/body/soul is giving you significant issues. Accepting that this is likely to impact your professional life makes it easier to give as good as you can.
    – Trebor
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 16:17

The better way to stay focused at work and generally to keep your work performance is making anything that can make you feel better. Seeing friends, doing sports or other activities that could at least lighter your day may be really good solutions.

It will not be magical, as in your situation most people would be devastated, but feeling great is really helpful for being efficient at work.

And last but non least, remember you are a human being. If your productivity slows down a bit, it's not your fault, it is totally normal. Any non-abusive company will understand your situation and the lower productivity may not be the main problem you should worry about.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .