Posted on December 2017 By Chris Oughton
As the festive season draws near and the Christmas invites are flooding the inbox, filling your calendar beautifully with parties, soirees, events and dinners, now is the time to wind down… finally!
But at what cost?
The world of contracting can be lucrative. Attractive day rates require contractors to work long hours within tight timeframes and push themselves to their limits. Approaching Go-Lives can bring work across the weekends… and potentially even longer days.
Consider: if you’re contracting, you’re often working in crunch-mode, inevitably raising stress levels. The body, in response, works just how it’s been designed; it goes up a gear into what is basically ‘defence mode’.
This stress boosts the immune system and it is this immune-response that helps fight colds and coughs on those FIFO projects – especially when catching the train or tram and being exposed to all those coughs and splutters from the public.
Once the stress relents however and such travel is no longer required, your body finally ‘steps down’ its defences in order to repair itself. It’s this ‘gap’ that is the open door for opportunities nasties to take hold!
No more adrenaline pushing through your system means that, although the immune system is of course still operating, it is no longer working at the same ‘hyped up’ capacity as it was during the SAP GoLive.
So, what can you do to prevent such an aftermath?
Actually, there are a number of things you can do to help cushion your body as it falls from the giddy heights of contract work. Let’s look at some.
Cranking up the vitamins, zinc and anti-viral supplements during the period of your contract.
Why not plan for a break? Sometimes easier said than done of course, but do try and have a few days off before launching into another contract.
If you have a 2-week notice period at work, maybe say instead it’s a 3-week notice and use that additional week for some ‘me’ time… and downtime!
Just think how much easier the high-intensity workload on that next ERP implementation will be to handle if you’ve allowed yourself some time to clear the mind and get yourself ready to go again.
Whatever you do, definitely do not over-commit!
If you find that you have over-extended yourself over the contract period, see if you can delegate or overload non-critical tasks outside of work. And step away from the screen from time to time.
One great way to do that is to get physical. Get moving! Exercise is non-negotiable I’m afraid, folks.
Time to Exercise!!
If you can’t find time to go to the gym there are plenty of ways you can squeeze exercise in. Go for a walk at lunch, run or cycle to or from work, use ‘deskercise’ techniques while you peck away at the keyboard. If you have family, combine family time and exercise by playing a game, or going on a hike… the possibilities are endless.
Survive Christmas the “Chris” way:
If you hadn’t guess, exercise is really important to me.
With juggling a full-time role at Speller International, frequent interstate travel for client meetings and conferences and trying to squeeze in as much time as possible with my 2-year-old son, I nonetheless make the effort to be at the gym for 6am twice a week, run home once a week, and play futsal every Wednesday – being part of a team helps keep me motivated.
It’s all about taking care of your body: simple things, healthy choices, small frequent meals throughout the day to maintain an even blood sugar level and keep you focused and energised!
Also, get some sleep! Leave the phone in another room, shut the workstation down, whatever it takes, but getting an hour’s extra sleep can make the next day far more productive.
Setting aside some ‘me time’ never hurts, either. Even 10 minutes a day helps – a book, a bath, some yoga or meditation, even a spot of gardening can make all the difference.
By now you may be asking, why? It’s just hard work. Hard work never hurt anyone. Right? Why go to all this trouble?
So with Christmas at our doorstep, it’s time to reflect on the busy season.
Here’s what I’d love you to do.
Once work slows down, set aside some time – even if it’s only 15 minutes – to reflect back on what worked, and what didn’t work for you during this high-stress period.
And finally, please, take care of yourself.
Especially if, like me, you have a family to look out for. Sure, work hard, but remember: no job is worth running yourself into the ground for, not when there are things in life that mean more than money ever could.
Because ‘being present’ is the best present you can give to others – and yourself – at Christmas. Have a safe, healthy and happy holiday, from everyone at Speller International.