The Busy Season Survival Guide

10 Tips to get you through the winter.

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(warning:  this intro is extremely nerdy – skip straight to the 10 tips if you aren’t one for GoT.)

Winter is coming.

And as the darkness approaches, so do the White Walkers.

They’re out there…CPAs with eyes colder than ice and hair falling from their scalps in clumps.

But we here at RocketGrad think of ourselves as the Night’s Watch.  We protect the Wall, we collect dragonglass, and we pass down our hallowed traditions generation after generation.

Alas, here is our busy season survival guide m’lords – 10 Survival Tips for the New Year:


  • Maintain a Daily Task List

Before leaving each night, create a task list for the next day and rank by priority.  Whether you’re an intern or a partner, you have to juggle multiple responsibilities during busy season.  This task list will help you maintain a singular focus throughout the day.

And, I must say, there’s no better feeling IN THE WORLD than crossing something off of a list.  Feeling sluggish, or unproductive?  Add some things you’ve already accomplished to your list and cross it off – it’s a shot of adrenaline.

fake to do list9

  • Work outside of your email inbox

There’s no need to check your email every five minutes.  Commit yourself to a singular task, focus, knock it out, and then take 10 minutes to respond to emails.  If something is extremely urgent, your senior will call a meeting.

Again, the more you can focus on one task at a time, the less overwhelmed you will feel.  In fact, check out the Pomodoro method – Brad and I regularly use this technique to cut out distractions.

  • Use your calendar

I have a tough time remembering which cabinet holds the cups in my kitchen…let alone remembering my commitments day after day.  Obviously add meeting times and dates to your calendar, but don’t be afraid to add deadlines, key dates and goals to your calendar.  It’s important to be regimented during busy season.

  • Rehash your instructions from your senior

This might be my favorite accounting hack to impress your senior.  It’s okay if you don’t understand something on the first pass.  But too often, junior staff is afraid to speak up.

There’s nothing scarier than telling your senior, “Yeah, I got it”, then going back to your desk feeling like Tom Hanks, alone and afraid on a remote island.

So, anytime you have a meeting with your senior, rehash your instructions to make sure you are all on the same page.

  • Ask how long certain tasks should take

Set expectations.  Put yourself on a timeline.  You’ll most likely be doing many tasks for the first time without knowing how you’re tracking.  The more info you gain on the front-end, the better prepared you’ll be when you start to execute.

  • Dance

Brad insists that you dance.

  • Find an Outlet

You are not a drone.  Remember that.  You have to have some semblance of human interaction at some point during busy season.

Figure out one or two things that are important to you during the busy season and communicate that with your senior.  If you plan ahead, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to have a night a few times a month to play basketball or volunteer or whatever.

  • Raise your Hand

Trying not to sound like a high school football coach here…but you have to think ‘team first’ during busy season.  If you have extra capacity, try to take some work off of someone else’s plate.  I know it’s tempting to go on cool down, but doing so will:

  1. Provide you with more experience
  2. Put you in good favor with your seniors, and
  3. Help the team complete its goal.

These three things translate into you getting the HIGHEST rating possible, which translates into more money and faster promotions.

  • Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Take time to exercise.  Try not to binge eat cookies and chips in the audit room.  Take time to stand up and stretch in between tax returns.

And for goodness sake, SLEEP.  You can get so much more done if you are focused and energized at work in a shorter amount of time.

  • Think big picture

I’m not going to lie, some days are going to be very tough during busy season.  But, you should know this going in…this is the business we’ve chosen (as Don Corleone so eloquently said).

It will come to an end, and you will grow tremendously during this time.  Play the long game…the experiences and relationships you develop during this time will benefit you throughout your entire career.


Good luck to everyone this busy season.  Whether you’re stepping into a senior role for the first time or starting your internship, we here at RocketGrad wish you the best of luck.

Happy New Year and if you have any questions or concerns about ANYTHING, email us at


Josh Tarica

Josh Tarica

Josh is a co-founder of, the premier network for Accounting and Information Systems students to land jobs and internships with leading firms.