Coping with megacrunch
October 13, 2019 9:16 PM   Subscribe

It's mega crunch time at work for the next two and a half months. What are your best tips for getting through it and keeping sane and productive?

Lots of stuff conspired to make the following couple months extremely workload-heavy for myself and my department at work. More responsibility than ever, more work than ever, more management than ever, more tasks than ever, high stakes, etc.

I'm in a good place with all this since it's meant a promotion to basically my dream job, and I am very personally committed to doing this work and helping the company at this time, plus my dpt works pretty well together.

We just have ...a LOT of work, and I want to be able to do it. What are your best tips for getting through a time like this and keeping sane, not burning out, hunkering down and getting shit done, etc?

Stuff I'm already doing that's helping:

- Getting 6/7 hours of sleep instead of ~3/4 (trying for 8 but life is hard)
- Waking up at 5:30 to ease into my day, which is the total jam
- Headspace app for meditation (10 min a day)
- Stretching and yoga during break when I remember to
- Cutting back on caffeine (just using it to keep caffeine headaches away right now)
- I bought a fidget ring and a stress ball
- Good therapist

I especially appreciate very concrete and specific tips like "Buy X kind of food so you don't have to worry about cooking," or "Do X exercise because it is very calming," or "Download X app and it'll do all your work for you and you can spend the next two months on a cruise." The "know your limitations" kind of general advice is also appreciated, but I have a more difficult time applying it.

Thanks guys!
posted by moons in june to Work & Money (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You appear to be in Oregon, in which case consider a cannabis tea as a sort of nightcap (especially on the celebratory "yay, I get to sleep!" weekends). I obviously cannot speak to every product, but the Kikoko sleepytime tea (Tranquili-tea) is just remarkably effective and I assume that there are other equally effective solutions in your area -- it's like going to sleep on a lovely cloud, without the drug hangover (having to fight your way to wakefulness) of doxylamine/etc. OMG, I wish I had some now.

Sleep is a big fucking deal when it comes to ongoing stress (IMHO, but I'm backed by Science).

Food-wise, maybe Purple Carrot if you can afford it? Everything is a 25-40 minute (roughly) cook time, so it's not unreasonable and it's all vegan.
posted by aramaic at 9:35 PM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Takeout. Hire a cleaning service. Use a laundry service, too. If you can impose a half-hour of no screens before bedtime, it should help. Make time for some actual exercise 3x a week, at least.
posted by praemunire at 9:40 PM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

When I go through this I just try not to dwell on it too much. I know it's easier said than done but once I get thinking about it I can wind up in an anxiety spiral so I try to just be like "Yep, busy time right now. Ah well." And then keep it moving.
posted by bleep at 9:41 PM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

- Stretching and yoga during break when I remember to

How long do you stay seated? Are you sitting for a long time and only getting up for breaks/bathroom? If so, try to stand up more often and just get the blood flowing again. If you don't have the time to walk around for a couple minutes, then at least standing and moving your arms and legs for a bit helps. Helps to wake up your brain, too.

Whatever your bedtime is, don't do any screen time for at least 30min beforehand. Rest your brain before bed to help get even more benefit from your sleep.
posted by acidnova at 9:42 PM on October 13, 2019

Best answer: Getting 6/7 hours of sleep instead of ~3/4 (trying for 8 but life is hard)

Try extra for this. Cutting sleep for a week or two works fine but the effects are cumulative and will really start to bite you in the ass around week three.

The most important and hard-earned advice I have for you is: deliberate speed. Don’t let the big pile of work sucker you into a do-everything-as-fast-as-possible scramble. Set a quick pace, but stick to the rhythm of it.

The other thing I strongly suggest is to take a day or three up front and plan everything out. It’s always tempting to skip this due to lack of information or a belief that flexibility obviates the need for planning, but having an overall orientation as well as having thought problems through before you’re up to your ass in alligators makes a huge difference. As has been said "Plans are worthless, but planning is invaluable."

But honestly? Deliberate speed. Keep a regular beat and you’re golden.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:52 PM on October 13, 2019 [12 favorites]

When I lived in Seattle, we had a big project come up suddenly. The boss announced we'd be working a minimum of 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for months. I coped by getting up at like 5 AM every day, and walking the 5 miles to work. It was near Fisherman's Terminal, so the early morning walk along the waterfront was soothing. An occasional rower out in the canal heading for Lake Union was usually the only people I would see. I'd take the bus home. I don't think I drove much, if at all for months. And for holidays such as Thanksgiving And Christmas, the most senior guy would tell management on our behalf, no we weren't working.
posted by baegucb at 10:28 PM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

At home: batch cooking. If you are going to cook for yourself, always make enough for at least two, if not three-to-five meals. (Take out is a good option too, but I would only do that short term, as two+ months of living on that if you're no used to it might make you feel worse)

At work: it's a little thing but 'tomorrow's to-do-today' - I always make the last 10 minutes of my working day into a space where I write a reasonable to-do-list for the next day. Obviously you'll need longer schedules and timetables, but just working out what the essential/time limited tasks are for the very next day and writing them down in preparation seems to ease a lot of the 2am worrying I used to do.
posted by AFII at 12:03 AM on October 14, 2019

This thread of mine may help!
posted by aw jeez at 12:22 AM on October 14, 2019

When you're meditating (or any other short break) lie with your legs up the wall and your arms stretched to the side. This is a well-known yoga move for lowering stress. Good luck!
posted by london explorer girl at 8:01 AM on October 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

If there is a paper calendar somewhere in your life, it is very satisfying to cross off the day at the end of the day and the week at the end of the week. If you know the end date for the madness, you can also mark down some goal posts on the last few weeks. "Only 2 more weeks!" "Only 1 more week!" and decorate the last three days. I did this with a similar defined period of bananas-ness and it helped.
posted by *s at 9:34 AM on October 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Get a pomodoro timer app and actually get up out of your chair in every break.
posted by lab.beetle at 12:08 PM on October 14, 2019

Try to have at least one day off if you can, even if it means working longer hours on the other days. Disconnect from work and do something fun/restorative, not just laundry.

If you can't take a full day, try to block off a few hours at a stretch, and take them at the same time every week.
posted by rpfields at 3:31 PM on October 14, 2019

Dont work extra long hours unless you can see that it's productive to do so.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:21 PM on October 14, 2019

- Big believer in meditation, I would up the total time you're meditating or do two short sessions. I've been tempted to skip my daily meditation before and it has always ended badly. You skip one day, and it turns into two and then a month.

- Look at your schedule, for the next two months. Look at what you're going to drop and drop it now, without guilt. If you try to keep all of your commitments and try to work more, you'll eventually have to drop something or burn out or both. Find something you can let go for the duration fo the crunch. A class, daily netflix habbit, something.

- Don't eat garbage. Buy yourself an instantpot and create few days worht of meals.
posted by aeighty at 11:41 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

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