3 Survival tips for crazy season

Are you in crazy season right now? Or about to go into one?

There are definitely seasons where life speeds up.

I’m in one of those right now. Never mind Christmas. November has been full on crazy busy with workshops. I’ve been working in London, Darlington, Tamworth, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Norwich, Milton Keynes, Derby and Stafford so far, and this week I’m back in Tamworth and then off to Budapest!

It’s definitely crazy good. Considering that business is much quieter in December, I’m thoroughly grateful that November is paying for December too, but that also means that I’m effectively doing two months’ work in one.

So, how do you run fast and keep going in crazy times like this? How do you make sure you can sustain the pace – if just for a season?

Here are three things that have helped me in the past three weeks:

1. Make space

When the diary is packed full of commitments, pauses are few and far between. Which is why we need to create pauses and protect them.

The 20 minutes you have in between two meetings. The half an hour at the beginning or end of the day. The one day you have at your desk when you’re not travelling. It’s easy to let these pauses fill up with emails, phone calls, meetings and ‘stuff’ you need to catch up on.

But in crazy season, the one thing only you can give yourself is a break. A walk, a proper lunch, a power nap, meditation or pick me up. A pause for you to unwind and refuel.

Knowing that I’d be arriving home late on a Thursday night from Edinburgh, after three consecutive days of workshops, then trekking over to Norwich on Sunday, I blocked out Friday and made it my day off. There was plenty that needed doing, but I needed the rest more. I took it easy, met a friend for coffee, went to the opticians, walked to school to pick the kids up, and took my time. It was like decompression time.

2. Make fun (especially with the things you dread)

Honestly, when I realised it was going to take me more hours and more changes to get to Norwich than to Edinburgh, my language was not pretty! I spent ages looking for alternatives, from flights to driving (would it be any faster to drive the 3.5 hours back at rush hour, and would it be wise or safe after delivering a 6 hour workshop?) to even considering if I could pass the job onto someone else. In the end I made peace with the train journey and decided I just had to make the best of it.

As my wise and wonderful friend Jenny posted on Facebook the other day: “Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”

So instead of dreading or resenting it, I decided to borrow the DVD recording of a conference I’d missed last month, to watch on the train. As it turned out, it was a rather pleasant way to spend a few hours – and as a bonus, the earphones totally blocked out the crying child elsewhere in the carriage.

3. Make Magic

Travelling for 5 hours on a Sunday also meant that I had less of the weekend to spend with my family, so we decided to make the most of it by having lazy morning cuddles followed by a pancake brunch in town before I had to catch my train.

It was wonderful. What we lacked in quantity of time, we definitely made up for in quality. Intent on enjoying the moment, we probably made it more magical than some entire weekends we’ve had together.

Over to you. 

If you have a crazy season coming up how are you going to make the most of it, to ensure you not only survive it but enjoy the ride too? Make space, make fun, make magic. Go on, give it a try.

One note of warning. This post is about how to make the most of crazy season, not “how to get away with every season being crazy”. We do need longer periods of proper rest as well as the pauses. And I’m a big believer that quantity family time is equally as important as quality time. As I said to a friend this week, you can sprint, but you can’t sprint a marathon.

  • Michelle Riley

    I agree with your point 2; it’s something I often try to do with down time that’s out of my control. My sons and I are experts at word games and guessing games while we wait for sport to finish or wait at the doctor’s office.

    I would add here that it’s okay to say no. We’re spending most of December in Fiji for a 70th birthday/Christmas celebration, so this means that I’m trying to get it all done three weeks before I usually need to get it done and pack it all up and take it with us. So far I’m managing well, but when my son’s teacher asked me whether I wanted to help supervise their cooking activity, there was no doubt in my mind that the answer had to be ‘no’. She understood and I didn’t have to add another item to my to-do list!

    • Really good point Michelle. We do have to say no so that we can say a proper wholehearted yes to the things we do commit to! And I think it often helps the people who ask to know that you will give them a straightforward answer too. Then they don’t have to worry if they’re asking too much of you, because they know you’ll say no when you mean no. And wow, have a fabulous time in Fiji!

  • Peter Anderton

    Oh yes – just what I needed!

    • Glad to hear it Peter! What have you been inspired to make?

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