Launch “season” is that time of year when everyone upon everyone upon everyone (!) is launching their product, offering, teleclass series, training, consulting, sessions package, downloadable item, e-course and more.
Launching is not for the faint of heart. It takes stamina. It’s a time when you want to take your vitamins and perhaps have a green smoothie on top of that, just for good measure. Inevitably, tech issue will arise, you’ll have to make last-minute changes, or you’ll find that something that you thought was taken care of was–most definitely–not taken care of.
What you can definitely take care of? You–and you’re your most important asset. Here are seven ways to practice self-care during a launch.
#1: Plan your launch, far far (far!) in advance. Thirty days is not enough time. Sixty days might not even be enough time. Giving yourself only two months to build momentum about a new offering is not likely to give you much room for self-care, especially in the two weeks leading into go-time for your product or offering. Give yourself ample time and space to both get the work done, and get that much-needed massage.
#2: Finish the product, well before you launch. If your deadline is the first of the month to show the product or offering to people, make one week prior to that your personal, hard deadline. It’s inevitable that last-minute tweaks are going to pop up.
#3: Stop and take breaks (consciously!). This seems so obvious, but it’s classic over-achiever syndrome to “try to get just one more thing done” and that’s going to run you into the ground. You’ve got to plan in time for eating, getting laundry done, and plain old down time. If you get so immersed in your work during intense launch periods that you literally disappear into a haze and then look up, six hours later, hungry and irritable and over-worked, employ 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, and yet time with friends is usually what I need most. Time with friends is your time to vent, recharge, get excited about your project, celebrate, or get out of your head about all of the stuff that you need to do.
#5: Use some kind of system. It doesn’t matter what system, as long as it’s a system that you will use. A legal pad to-do list works, or you can get fancy with a system like Basecamp (my personal favorite for project management). Some people love Evernote, others love Asana, others find their desks covered in post-its, and others keep an ongoing electronic list on their computer’s desktop. Don’t spend a lot of time comparing your system to others, or trying to figure out a better system. Launch time is not that time.
#6: Start saying “no,” early and often. Sometimes it’s necessary to say “no” to something else, in order 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 other guest posts and interviews, then negotiate a later date. Don’t take on more coaching clients if someone inquires–push the date out to after your launch. This is okay to do!
#7: Set up an incredible reward for launch day. Usually, I book myself a super nice massage and make a reservation at my favorite restaurant (and I don’t skimp on the wine, appetizers, or dessert when I get there). 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’m able to have time to go into an introverted hideaway for a few days and just chill out and be alone for a bit after all of the buzz and excitement. Some people recommend that you set up that alone time 3-4 days after launch, rather than immediately after, so that you can respond to any emails or buzz that is generated and take advantage of any immediate offers for interview requests or collaboration that might come up.
“Self-care” is such a buzz word that it’s often tossed around without people really thinking about what it actually means to practice it. The truth is that integrating self-care 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 you healthier, there’s one other great reason to practice self-care even during harried launches–it’s what integrity looks like, and as life coaches, it’s important that we walk our talk.
Here’s to self-care–and that champagne clink of a successfully completed launch!