After you’ve done a few launches, you develop a bit of a rhythm. Life gets pretty crazy for a while, but you learn the ups and downs, and eventually, you reach a kind of flow place. It’s kind of like Christmas shopping or airport security – it’s madness, but it’s a madness you’ve come to expect. You’ve prepared for it.

That’s after you’ve done a few launches. Before, though… well, that’s what horror stories are made of.

Everybody’s experience is going to be different, but here are a few tricks for the newbies of the world.

1. Buy lots of bottled water.

It is my contention that the leading cause of crankiness during launch is not fatigue but dehydration. You get into this groove where you’re constantly downing your caffeinated beverage of choice and feeling like quite the hot shot. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this goes south.

Keep bottled water within arms reach from prelaunch until your shopping cart is closed. Your family won’t hate you quite so much if you’re hydrated.

2. Clean your desk.

Ideally, clean your desk to the point where there is nothing on it you are not actively using for your launch. No receipts, no tchotchkes, no stationery or extra pens or stacks of books.

You will soon be up to your hairline in printouts to proof, stickie notes, index cards, takeout containers and empty water bottles. This will make you crazy and possibly violent. You may have a crying fit because you can’t find your highlighter. Make it easier on yourself and those around you by preclearing as much space as physically possible.

3. Get a haircut.

Very soon, you are going to look and feel utterly disgusting. Your children will be afraid to be seen with you and your spouse will be wondering if perhaps they made the wrong choice.

For the sake of your self-esteem and the maintenance of your social circle, at the very least get a haircut.

(If your personal grooming extends beyond this, pull out every stop that seems appropriate. Eyebrows, beard trimming – hell, get a professional shave if it floats your boat. Do whatever you can to look decent.)

4. Wash a selection of very simple clothes.

It is not uncommon during launch to go several days without a shower. At one time, I was leaving for vacation right after launch and I didn’t bathe until I was on a ship leaving Miami. This is not ideal, but it is sometimes unavoidable.

I want you in clothes that are clean, comfortable, and require no decisions. No accessorizing, no “does this shirt go with those pants?”, no tight waistbands, and nothing that requires you to shave your legs.

You might smell, but at least your shirt won’t.

(Bonus points if you wear clothes you can sleep in. If your launch is big, you might have to.)

5. Cancel your plans. All of them.

I don’t care who’s coming to town, I don’t care what’s playing at the theatre, and I don’t care who gives you a dirty look. You can’t afford to do other stuff while you’re launching, at least not when you’re new at it.

You may think you can find the time to do this or that, and you’re probably right. You will have some extra time. What you won’t have, though, is extra energy.

If you have free time during launch, you should be using it to relax.

Once you’ve done it a few times, you can see how you feel about extra activities. While you’re still new, you’re just going to be stressed and obsessed and constantly checking your email. You’ll be terrible company anyway.

Whoever it is can wait. Make it up to them after your payday – take them out for a nice lunch. You’ll be able to pick up the check.

6. Abandon resolutions.

Launch is like childbirth – it’s not the time for new initiatives. When you are launching, you are launching. That is all you are doing. It is not the time to start giving up carbs, or quitting smoking, or attending daily Crossfit classes.

Keeping internal commitments requires willpower, something in rapidly dwindling supply during the decision fatigue of launch. Decision fatigue first leads to impulsiveness and then inertia, two things you don’t want when you’ve got five or six figures on the line. You’re going to screw up your diet, or you’re going to screw up your launch, or both.

No. If you wouldn’t do it during childbirth, you don’t do it during launch.

7. Stockpile treats.

“Treats” here is plural. I don’t know what your treats are, but you’re going to need them. Chocolate? Gilmore Girls? Chocolate-covered Gilmore Girls?

Whatever your fancies are, keep an ample selection of (different) nice things on hand to keep yourself going.

Keep in mind, these are not rewards – they are treats. They are not dependent on successes, or attaining certain metrics, or achieving specifc goals. They exist to boost morale, not to improve performance. You get them when you’re great and you get them when you suck.

Launch is hell. Thrilling, lucrative, life-changing hell.

A good launch can make all your dreams come true, but in order for that to happen, you’re going to have to survive it first. Make it easier by following these tips. And shoot me an email to let me know how it goes – we love success stories.