As anyone in membership management knows, being busy can be both a blessing and a curse. Certain seasons demand hard work day-in and day-out, and even times that aren’t busy are always leading us back to the chaos – so how do we manage the stress that comes with busy seasons?

Fortunately, there are actually a lot of things membership managers (and others, too!) can do during the off-season to make busy seasons easier on themselves. While preparing for the next busy season is a multifaceted process, doing so can really make a world of difference when it’s time for business to kick back in. Organizing, processing files, automating systems, and other non-client-facing tasks are imperative, and managing your time effectively to make the time of busy and slow seasons can help any company set itself up for success.

When you are in the throes of the busy season, you may not have time for the extra administrative tasks you might normally, even if they still have to get done. This is where it can be extremely important to think about how you want to approach your days and what you can do to maximize efficiency without burning yourself out.

Here are 7 tips you can use to help manage your stress, get the job done more efficiently, and open up your schedule during busy periods of the year.

Automate Your Registration and Workflow

While processing applications, membership renewals, and the like may seem like small tasks, the time certainly adds up if you have to do it often throughout the course of the year. Using membership management software to automate these processes can help you streamline your workflow while still keeping tabs on what’s going on with your members. These platforms offer numerous options to organizations for managing members on an ongoing basis, and they really can be the key to staying sane when the going gets rough.

Evaluate Past Campaigns

If last year’s campaign wasn’t a success, then what made it that way? If it went off without a hitch, then why? Before diving into your busy schedule, it’s important to look at the past and identify what worked and what didn’t work. If your preparation turned out to be lacking when it came time for the busy season, then you can remember to make it a point to prepare a little bit extra on the things you didn’t do perfectly the prior year.

Schedule Breaks For Yourself

When you’re in the middle of a busy season, it can seem like you need to work all day, every day, especially if your workload is bursting out of your schedule. However, it’s imperative to remember that people are typically more productive when they are also adequately rested. Breaks can actually help you get work done more quickly and efficiently. Scheduling lunch and/or general breaks for yourself throughout the day will help you get more done when you are working, and it will give you some things to look forward to each day. No matter how you decide to schedule them for yourself, these small morale boosts in the middle of the day can ultimately determine how your weeks and months go, especially during the busier times in the year.

Delegate Where You Can

For many successful owners and leaders, delegating can feel like the wrong thing to do. It’s easy and natural to want to take control of what you can in your organization, but if you’re overloaded, it can be helpful and freeing to offer work up to someone else based on their skills and your needs. If you can afford to offload some duties, you should! Whether you offer new tasks to your employees, find freelancers to fill in some gaps, or find resources to help streamline your process (see tip no. 1!), the result will free up your schedule and help you focus on your priorities. It’s beneficial to practice delegating tasks regularly, and it can even help empower your team to take more ownership of the group’s goals, too.

Move Your Body

Exercise and movement is one of the most classic stress-relievers out there. Whether you go for a walk, run, bike ride, at-home yoga, or otherwise, moving your body forces you to focus on what you’re doing. It can act as a daily, built-in distraction – temporarily, of course – which can be super restful for the mind. Inversely, wearing your body out through physical activity will release any built-up tension, ultimately centering yourself and helping you relax, even in the midst of a busy schedule.

Create Routines and Structures for Yourself

Creating specific routines for yourself is another way to help manage stress and keep your mind fresh. Using the same office, listening to the same music, or preparing your day the same way every time, you’ll help your mind understand when it’s time to work and when it isn’t. In turn, this will help your mind feel at ease when it isn’t time to work, making the most out of your evenings, weekends, and breaks throughout the day.

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is an excellent way to help with your stress level. Whether you do this through meditation, by taking moments throughout the day to notice the world around you, or some other means, being mindful is proven to help people cope effectively with stress, and it can make all the difference when you’re trying to stay on track.

Although it can seem intimidating, managing your stress doesn’t actually have to be difficult. Making changes to your daily life is natural, and by introducing new habits and practices one-by-one, you can ease yourself into a more stress-free life without making it more stressful than it’s worth.

One thing is for certain: membership management has a definite ebb and flows throughout the year, and getting a good jump on your busy seasons can make all the difference. Still, even in the midst of crazy times, you can use these tips to bring your mind some extra peace without sacrificing the volume and quality of work you need to succeed.