For the past several months, it seems like everyone I’ve talked to from my sister and my BFF to sources and store clerks has suffered with a bout of the ick.

Upon hearing of another poor sod who succumbed to sickness, I was sympathetic but smug. I may have even uttered the phrase, “I haven’t been sick in ages!”

Note to self: Taunting the Universe is not a good idea.

I’m sick.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve discovered that getting sick is one of the hardest parts of being self-employed. Whether you’re laid up for 48 hours with a stomach bug or admitted to the hospital for a serious accident or illness, it can affect your deadlines and your bottom line.

Being curled up on the couch did spark me to think about a few ways to minimize the impact.

Be prepared: While I do some of my best work in the 24 hours before an article is due, I make an effort to get as much of the pre-writing work done as far ahead of the deadline as possible. If I happen to get sick, I have some wiggle room to recover without panicking about the interviews and background research that still needs to be done.

Be productive: You might not feel up to interviewing sources when you’re sick but there are other things you can to do minimize the impact of your illness on your to-do list. I caught up on bookkeeping, researched new markets, reviewed queries I want to re-send…anything I could do from the sofa.

Be honest: I had to cancel a class because I felt too awful to be “on” at the front of the room. If I can’t do my best, I’ll take a knee. Editors get sick, too, and most understand if you need a little extra time to recoup.

Rest: Even without sick days, it’s essential to take the time to recover. If you push yourself too hard – as every self-employed person I know tends to do – your work will suffer. It’s better to get some rest and return to work refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list.

If you’re self-employed, how do you deal with sickness?