Fall always has that bustle about it -- the back to school rush, leaves falling and merchants making their biggest hustles of the year.
It's for the larger world what the entrepreneurship universe goes through during launch season, as someone prepares to offer a product, teleclass series, training, consulting, sessions package, downloadable item, ecourse or business.
Launching is not for the faint of heart. It takes stamina, perhaps vitamins and maybe a green smoothie on top of that. Inevitably, tech issues arise. There's last-minute changes and surprises -- something that you thought was taken care of was most definitely not.
Amid the rush, be sure to definitely take care of this one thing: you. Yes, you’re the most important asset. Here are seven ways to practice self-care during a launch:
1. Plan far far in advance.
Thirty days is not enough time. Sixty days might not even be enough time. Granting yourself just two months to build momentum for a new offering is not likely to allow you much room for self-care, especially in the two weeks leading to go time. Give yourself ample time and space to get the work done and have the much-needed massage.
2. Finish the product well before the deadline.
If your deadline is the first of the month to show the product or offering to others, make the week prior to that your personal deadline. It’s inevitable that last-minute tweaks will be required.
3. Stop and take breaks.
The need for taking breaks might sound so obvious, but it’s classic overachiever syndrome to try to get just one more thing done. That sor of thinking is going to run you into the ground.
You’ve got to factor in time for eating, doing laundry and plain old downtime. If you become so immersed in work during intense launch periods that you literally disappear into a haze to emerge six hours later, hungry, irritable and overworked, try cognitive-behavioral tools such as a scheduled phone call or a timer with a bell.
4. Connect with friends.
I’m as guilty of this as anyone: When I’m in full-on launch mode, I disappear. I’m bad about responding to emails or phone calls. Yet time with friends is usually what I need most. Socialize with friends to vent, recharge, become excited about your project, celebrate or take a vacation from all the stuff you need to do.
Related: Apply the Brakes Before You Break
5. Set up a system.
It doesn’t matter what system you tap for keeping organized, as long as it’s a system that you will use. A to-do list on a legal pad works or you can get fancy by using an online system like Basecamp (my personal favorite for project management).
Some people love Evernote. Others love Asana. Still others cover their desk with Post-its, while some might keep an ongoing electronic list on a computer desktop. Don’t spend a lot of time comparing your system to others or trying to figure out a better one. Launch time is not the time for that.
6. Start saying no.
Sometimes it’s necessary to say no to something else so as to say yes to yourself. Say no to things that will take you away from your launch goal. Note that a no can mean “not right now.”
If someone needs you to write a guest post and you’re slammed with assignments and interviews, then negotiate for a later date. Don’t take on moreclients if someone inquires. Push the date out to after your launch. This is OK to do.
7. Set up an incredible reward.
Usually in connection with a launch, I book myself a super nice massage as a reward and make a reservation at my favorite restaurant (without skimping on the wine, appetizers or dessert). I put on fabulous makeup and my favorite gold shoes.
I also make sure that my schedule is clear for a few days after launch time. This ensures that I can go into an introverted hideaway and just chill out and be alone for a bit after all the buzz and excitement.
Some people recommend scheduling that alone time three to four days after launch, rather than immediately after to be able to respond to any emails or buzz generated and take advantage of any immediate offers for interviews or requests for collaboration.
Self-care is such a buzz word that it’s often tossed around without people really thinking about what it means to practice it. The truth is that integrating self-care into life is a choice and a practice, and it only happens successfully when someone is conscious and consistent about it.
Aside from the fact that it leaves an entrepreneur healthier, there’s another great reason for me to practice self-care even during harried launches: It's what integrity looks like to a life coach, and I must walk the walk.
Here’s to self-care -- and that champagne clink after a successfully completed launch!