The Trion Communications team stays pretty busy year-round, but Open Enrollment is a whole different story – and if you’re reading a blog post about Open Enrollment, chances are you know what I mean. One of my favorite analogies aptly fits the overdrive that kicks in at this time of year: it’s like the difference between throwing a bullet, and shooting it.
This is my third full-fledged OE season in the benefits communication world. Over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies that work really well for me to keep a grasp on at least a few tattered shreds of sanity during this insane time of year.
There’s (almost) never a reason to panic. I only learned this the hard way, but a few gray hairs later, I’ve come to realize that there is some equitable solution out there to whatever crisis is facing you. Are you being asked to do something that you’ve never done before? Talk to your colleagues; they may have faced a similar situation or can recommend a resource to help. And if a mistake happens, which it does when we’re moving 500 miles an hour in the thick of OE, be honest and do what you can to make it right. Even if there is no real fix, your sincerity and effort can go a long way to smoothing things over.
Stay organized. There’s a lot going on during OE. For me, it’s keeping on top of multiple deliverables for multiple clients. This year I purchased a really nice personal organizer for myself. I splurged a little on one I really liked, to up the odds that I’d actually use it regularly – and it worked! I’ve got one place to keep track of everything – deliverables, client meetings, to-do lists and more. It just takes a quick peek to re-ground myself in what my priorities are on any given day.
Be mindful. Perhaps the thing I struggle with the most during this time of year is just being able to shut it off. While my workload can put a strain on my non-work life (case in point, I’m writing this blog on a Saturday night), I do have time to focus on the other things in my life. The problem is, I waste those times worrying about the work, instead of giving my attention to the things that matter to me most. To help keep me present in the moment (instead of being mentally at work even when I’m not working), I keep to two rules from late July through early November.
- First, my Friday nights are my own. Even if I stay at the office late, once I’m home on Friday, the laptop stays closed. If I don’t expect myself to work, I won’t feel guilty when I take one night to step away completely.
- Second, I make a point to indulge in some serious stress relief by getting a massage regularly. It really helps me clear my head, decompress, and gives me something to look forward to during the week – not to mention working out the kinks from all those extra hours sitting at my desk.
It makes this season a little easier knowing I have strategies to handle whatever curveball OE throws my way. These are the things that work well for me, but everyone is different. Find the things that help you keep a lid on the crazy, and remind yourself of them regularly. Good luck!