4 tips for managing busy periods

a close-up of a list of thingsOver the past year I’ve had some insanely busy work periods. I’ve planned conferences, organized client events, held fundraisers, and managed company-wide programs, sometimes all in the same week. Add frequent travel on top of this, plus, like, three small humans, and things have been nuts. 

Sometimes it feels like I go-go-go until I fall into bed, only to wake again at 6am to prep for the day. As I’m writing this it’s Friday night, I’m at the Phoenix airport, and it’s the first time I’ve been able to catch my breath or do anything but rush all week.

Y’all, I am tired.

But this is my job, a job I love, and I’m lucky to do it. So there will be occasional weeks or months (or years!) like this. The question is: how can you prepare for times like this so that you are still semi-coherent at the end? Here a few tips for managing busy periods.

Plan and prepare as much as possible. For my busiest times it helps to treat it like a trip, whether I’m actually traveling or not. I’ll plan what to to wear each day, figure out when I need to leave the house, assume I won’t be able to check my email and so put an out-of-office on, etc.

Help the folks at home. Before extremely busy weeks on Sunday night I’ll make two days worth of lunches for the kids and plan out meals for the rest of the week; print out a schedule of where I’ll be and when; do as much laundry and dishes as I have time for; and snuggle with my family as much as possible. Anything I can do to make the week easier for the Home Warrior I try to do!

Take the downtime wherever you can find it. Often on my flights I’ll try to get some work done (nothing like frantically catching up on emails!) but if there is nothing urgent I will nap for a few minutes or watch a movie. Anytime I have a chance to be quiet or still I’ll take it, and maybe try to fit in some deep breathing exercises or mini-meditations.

Let the less-urgent things go. When you’re extra busy, sometimes a few things have to slip to a different week. Like healthy eating—I always try for a salad, but sometimes the best you can do is grab an airport burger and run to your plane. Oh well! I always try to jump back on the good-eating train the next week. Also, while I super-duper love you guys, I can’t always get a blog post up on crazy weeks (like last week! Sorry!). But again, next week I’ll be back to regular posting.

Whew! I am ready to enjoy the weekend with my kiddos, (hopefully) do some swimming, some laundry, and a lot of sleeping!

Readers, how do you manage your extra-busy work periods?


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