Now that we have gotten through things to relax (part one of the three part series) and trying to keep your house from looking like a small battle was waged inside of it (part two), we have to turn where it will seem like we are spending the majority of our waking hours -The Office (dun, dun, dun).
Here are a few things you can do to reduce stress, become more organized and make your time at work during those long hours potentially border on enjoyable.
In the weeks leading up to the tirade, try to take it a little easier than normal. Your boss may not like this but let’s be honest, there is no time for taking it remotely easy during busy season and going nonstop for 3-4 months will wear down even the most hardened veteran. Now I now this may be difficult considering year-end planning and inventory counts but maybe you can succeed at it at least a few days leading up to what can be referred to as “The Happening.”
A way to take it easy and not upset your boss is to slam in any year end CPE that you may be behind on. It is a good way to catch up on any new highlights for the year that you may not be aware of and to learn something new that could potentially be a lifesaver down the road.
Organize your office/cubicle. Before all of the binders and paperwork begin flying in and piling up as if Santa is tossing them from cruise altitude on his sleigh, clean up and organize what you already have in your work space. If you aren’t going to need those documents or use them in the near future, it will likely save you a headache and some stress to put them away now and get them out again when needed. No one wants to accidentally bump a pile of paperwork that turns into an avalanche that Elf on the Shelf could surf down. In my experience, less clutter equals less stress/anxiety looking for things and gets rid of the feeling of being squashed by piles of work all around you.
Lastly (if you haven’t noticed, basically every part of this three part series has mentioned this in one fashion or another) we come to having food at your desk or as I like to call it the “food drawer.” And yes, it does occupy an entire large drawer at my desk. Now I would consider this to be one of the top things on my list of things to prepare for busy season (or in my case, year round). You always want to have a stock of food/snacks at your desk or somewhere in the office in case you get hungry or forget your lunch while rushing out of the house in the morning to try and keep from slapping yourself while sitting in gridlock traffic. I don’t know about everyone else but if I start getting hungry during the day, I have a habit of turning into the abominable snowman. With that being said, here are some tips to help keep you from not being yourself and “needing a Snickers”
Keep a bunch of different types of snacks at your desk. Don’t only have healthier snacks such as granola bars at your desk. If you have the self-control (I know, it is almost laughable), have a couple of small candy bars or fruit snacks laying around for those really bad days or days you need some sugar. Running out of food in my lunch bag is one of the most dreaded things that can happen to me. Having somewhat healthy (because who can honestly say something that can be left in a drawer for months on end is healthy) snacks can make the difference between an average day and an absolutely horrible day. And don’t just keep one or two. If you are like me keep a bunch of each because you will forget how many are left and then look down into the dreaded empty food drawer. Pretty similar to staring at a bottomless pit, it results in utter disbelief, shock and denial that I let the food stock get to this alarming point.
In keeping with the snack theme, keep a long lasting breakfast item as well as dinner item at your desk. I cannot think of a CPA that I have met that has not had to unexpectedly stay late a day here or there. Don’t be the guy or gal who is burning the midnight oil and contemplating gnawing on anything because their stomach sounds like a herd of elephants. My go to items are normally some type of soup and Pop Tarts. However I have recently acquired some of those microwavable macaroni and cheese cups which have worked out great as well.
Another alternative is to keep a freezer meal at work for those times when you get really hungry or completely forget/neglect your lunch (in my mind is sacrilege!). You can be rolling the dice since a perfectly good food item was left in the freezer for multiple days/weeks. (In case you are new to the public accounting scene, you cannot leave food out in a break room long around CPA’s before it is completely demolished). Someone may view your delicious freezer meal as a “take a penny, give a penny” tray and next thing you know, you are out of a lunch when you were depending on it the most. I am not saying it is a bad idea to leave a meal in the freezer but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now, I know some will say that nothing I listed to keep in your “food drawer” is particularly healthy; to which I will agree. The food drawer is meant only really as a last resort for the unexpected. It is really to hold you over so you are not as miserable the rest of the day.
Along with the food drawer, you should also have some medicine/ health items as well. I would have to say it is never a bad idea to keep cough drops so that when you get sick (which you likely will working long hours inside 5-6 days a week) you do not sound like you are hacking up a lung. Another thing to keep is Tylenol or Ibuprofen. I know some employers have community medicine, but as my wife puts it, you are diving into the “cyanide bottle.” Who knows who/what potentially disgruntled employee or jokester was in there last lol.
In concluding the food section of this rant, if you listen to my advice you likely will have a drawer that is packed to the gills and looks like a squirrels cheeks getting ready for winter. But one thing is for sure, you won’t go hungry or have to worry about what piece of furniture is most edible in the office if the Blizzard of 1977 decides to hit again.
So basically, don’t be like me in the past and hopefully learn from some of my above mistakes. Also, if you actually made it through all three parts of my lackluster humor, Thank You and I hope you enjoyed it!!
Cheerio and hope you have a great busy season!