At my job, we have very clearly defined “busy seasons” where it’s required to work extra hours. That means working late at night and even on weekends. The last busy season – which was my first one with this company – went by very quickly and I didn’t find it to be as draining as you may think it could be, which was a nice surprise.
I am definitely someone who thrives on being busy. I am definitely not going to say I’m a “workaholic”, first because I hate that term (always sounds like a “humblebrag” when someone says it about themselves), and second because there are countless times where I definitely enjoy being lazy and relaxing (just spent the whole weekend lounging around, actually)! But, I do tend to get antsy if I don’t have projects to work on, which is why I love things like reading and crafting. They’re fun and they keep me busy.
Anyways, the point of that divergence is that I don’t mind being busy. But still, my schedule is already pretty jam-packed without the uptick in work hours, so now is the time for me to be proactive in getting myself ready for this season.
Last season, I didn’t have nearly as many things going on in my personal life as far as my writing and blog went, so I know that it’s going to take more work to juggle everything this time around. I am lucky enough to feel very fulfilled by my full-time job as well as everything I do on the side, and I also do want to maintain my personal and social lives at least a little. I am committed to making all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together without going too crazy, so I realize that I need to be reasonable with myself, which demands the need to be proactive and plan as much as I can.
While not every job has as rigidly marked busy seasons as mine may (or maybe some do!), most companies naturally experience peaks and valleys in terms of workload. So, I thought it could be useful (or at least a little interesting for some readers?) to write about how I’m prepping for my schedule to ramp up.
Staying organized – weeks where I don’t make the effort to organize myself before Monday hits always feel like a mess from the start, and it can be very difficult for me personally to veer from that direction once things take off. This is even more true during busy season. Because of that, I’m already trying to find more ways to keep myself organized and to avoid becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.
When I have a million tasks that need to get done in a short amount of time, I start to get anxious and it makes me want to just blow all of them off. But when I break things down into a to-do list (I know this is not a groundbreaking tip), organizing items by priority level, and noting how much time I can dedicate to each task, I feel like everything is more manageable. It also helps me to stop worrying that I forgot something at the end of each day, and pulling items from a weekly list of “deliverables” and priorities that I write out on Sunday also makes it easier to keep lists throughout the week.
Setting priorities – This is something to work on, but I need to have a clear delineation of priorities set (at least in my mind) before I get ultra busy. These don’t all have to be centered around work, either. Some big goals for this busy season are going to be pushing myself to have more of a social life, even when I’m swamped at work, spending more quality time with my BF during whatever free time I have, and staying on top of household chores as much as I can. To allow those things to happen, I know that they need to be at the top of the priority list. I have to commit to these priorities that I set, giving me a clear roadmap of how to divide my time when things get hectic.
One way that I put my priorities in my face all the time so that I can’t forget them is to mark them on my to do list with a color coding system. High priority items are highlighted in one color, items that aren’t urgent but need to get done are highlighted in another, and “nice to have” items that would be great to cross off the list but aren’t urgent are in the last color. That way, I can hold myself accountable to crossing off high priority items first, and then go from there. This also is useful because my to do lists become a general stream of consciousness most days, and they’re not necessarily in order of priority once they are transferred from my mind to paper.
Doing things ahead of time – I think that this is probably one of the biggest things that will help me feel more “prepared” for busy season. I’m very lucky to live with my BF who takes care of a lot of items that I don’t have time to when things get crazy, but I also don’t want to put every household chore onto his plate during this time. Therefore, pre-busy season is the perfect time to stock up on household items (like paper towel, toilet paper, laundry detergent, condiments, dish soap, and other important things). Boxed is the perfect site to order from when you want to stock up on things, so I highly recommend buying in bulk through there if you can! They do have an order minimum, but it’s very reasonable and it’s easier to order through here (at least for us) than it is to go to Costco (you also don’t need a membership for Boxed). Another option is to order through Instacart (if it’s offered in your area) from Costco (no Costco membership required to do that)!
I also want to make some soups as well as other meals ahead of time that can go in the freezer for us to eat during busy season. That eliminates the need to cook some dinners, which will be valuable time to get back (and – best of all – eliminates clean-up time)! Plus, there are so many veggies in season right now that it’s the perfect time to make creamy or hearty soups that will be perfect to enjoy amidst the fall weather! After I try some recipes, I will do a post on my favorites!
Finally, I’m really trying (not very successfully, yet…) to get ahead on my writing to take a little off my plate during this busy time. It hasn’t been easy to get ahead because I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I’m trying my best and once it gets done, it’ll be something I’m really glad I did, especially once my schedule ramps up.
I am working on doing some physical organizing, too, around my apartment before busy season hits. I’ll be sure to post my tips and progress along the way!