Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Look Good…Even During the Busy Season

Uhm, don’t get this blog wrong. It’s not about looking ‘good’ per se. It’s about how to maintain the appearance that you’re still a human being even when you’re already working 80 to 100 hours a week.

Have you ever noticed that during busy season, physical appearances change? I mean you can easily tell if an accountant or a CA (or a Certified Public Accountant in other countries) is working for an auditing firm and it is busy season just by looking at him or her. 

Dark shadows under the eyes (that get darker as the deadline approaches); puffy, sleepless eyes; the haggard pale look (because you’re cooped all day long inside the office) and the general appearance of busy-ness, tension and pressure – do all these sound (er look) familiar to you?

When I was working in a big auditing firm, it always amazes me that every time I see somebody who resigned from the firm, he or she looks so d@mn good. This former officemate looks younger, fresher, well-rested and happier. When I resigned from the firm, I heard the same comments just after a few months! Did we really look different (terrible even) during the time we’re working with an auditing firm?

Okay, just in case you’re wondering if I’m trying to scare you away from working with the Big 4 (again), wonder no more. This blog is not about ‘scaring’ you away. Rather, I just want to share some tips in how to still look good even when you are already deep into the busy season.

Get Some Sleep. I mean it, man, GET SOME SLEEP. Two hours a day, three hours a day, four hours a day, some even six hours a day! Whatever works for you, do it. Please don’t go 48 hours without sleeping for even an hour during all those hours. I know, I know, you have a deadline, a meeting, a report due, etc. but believe me; not sleeping is tantamount to ensuring that you will look like a robot, and a ‘dead’ one at that.

Get a Power Nap. This may not be the thing right? But I swear by this tip. 30 minutes to 1 hour tops. This will especially do you wonders if you do it after lunch. Rather than grabbing a cup of coffee to wake you up, find a quiet place (I usually go for conference rooms), close your eyes and snooze (uhm, make sure you set your alarm first). Believe me when I say that when you wake up, you’ll be ready to face the world, notwithstanding the fact that you got only a 2-hour sleep last night.

Eat Right. Okay, am I starting to sound like your mother here? Mother or no mother, skipping meals I don’t really advice, especially breakfast. Believe me when I say I saw a lot of auditors (myself included) who get cranky when they skipped lunch or dinner. The results? Disastrous if you get cranky in front of your boss. Bad rep if you get cranky in front of your junior. So grab something to eat and save yourself (and your boss or your junior) the bad mood.

Learn to Let Go. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t be too tense. Don’t worry about the little things. Don’t take it into heart when your partner yells at you or your client swears at you or your junior walks out on you. Repeat after me…business only, nothing personal…business only, nothing personal…etc., etc.

Go Out. For God’s sake, don’t make your office your home (I also saw some auditors do this). Go out. Stretch your legs, take a walk. Go out on a dinner date. Go out with your friends for lunch or for dinner. Or just go out, go to the nearest mall and take time out to look at what you want (but can’t buy because you haven’t received that overtime pay yet). If you feel you don’t have the time to do these things, squeeze in the time to do them.

Get Your Hair Cut Before and After the Busy Season. Look good before the start of the busy season by getting that hair cut that you want. Then schedule a hair cut after the busy season so that you’ll have something to look forward to. Better yet, schedule a visit to the spa right after the busy season. Knowing that you have something this enjoyable after the busy season will make the days go by really, really fast.

Lastly, Don’t be a Super Human Being. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Delegate. Prioritize. Learn to say ‘no’. Learn to let small stuff go. You’re only human after all. You have your limits. When you feel your body is already telling you that it needs to rest, heed it.

Hmmmm, serious stuff you think? Well, busy season is serious stuff. Ensuring that you still look good even during the busy season is more serious, especially for some auditors :). Hope the above tips help. Good luck with the busy season!


  1. i love this! it's always tough trying to keep sane during busy season, but these are great tips! it's so important to make sure you take care of yourself first - your health is more important than the audit :)

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