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Life has a way of giving us surprises. In the last few weeks, I had a family member go to the hospital and a Category 4 hurricane come my way. Even still, I had to stay productive in between emergencies.

Let me tell you, it is hard to stay productive during chaos. Especially if everyone around you is acting chaotic as well. This was the case for me as Hurricane Irma approached South Florida. It’s not just your family and property you have to worry about, you also have to deal with everyone else’s anxiety.

But, as I’ve already mentioned, bills don’t pay themselves. When you are self-employed, you can’t rely on a paycheck hitting your bank account. It’s also nice to not have to solely rely on your emergency fund unless you have to. Here’s how to stay productive amid chaos so that you still get paid.

Get unnecessary things off your list.

The first order of business is you want to stay productive amid chaos is to get unnecessary things off your to-do list.

For me, that looked like asking some editors for extensions until after the storm passed. It also looked like some sponsorship campaigns getting postponed. I also canceled all sessions with private coaching clients and canceled office hours calls with my group coaching students.

This allowed me to focus on what I could control for work. In this case this was work that was due right before the storm was to hit. Or, work that I knew I could get done ahead of time.

Delegate to your team.

My business manager has been rock solid whenever I have to deal with a family emergency. She acts as my gatekeeper which gives me breathing room to stay productive when I can.

When Irma was on the way, I delegated as much as I could to my business manager so that at least some things would get done. This also allowed me to get rid of things I didn’t absolutely have to do myself.


Meditation helps me stay productive regardless of whether or not I’m experiencing chaos. It has quite literally kept me calm during a storm. It also helps me focus on what I can control and let go of the things I can’t.

If you’ve never meditated before, I highly recommend using apps like Calm or Headspace to help you get started. Calm even has specific meditations for improving focus, including a seven day program.

Use productivity tools.

Brain.fm is one of my favorite tools that help me stay productive. And it’s not just when there is chaos either, it’s all the time. That being said, I do tend to use it more when I’m easily distracted by the news or things in my personal life.

In case you don’t know about Brain.fm, it’s an audio service that allows you to listen to specific sounds to help you focus. You can also find these kinds of audio on YouTube. And yes, they really do work.

Final Thoughts

While the first order of business during emergencies should be the emergency itself, you can still find ways to stay productive and focus. After all, sometimes we have to wait before the emergency actually happens (like with a hurricane).