When other industries think of creative agency hours, they go EEK! It’s common knowledge that working at a PR firms means longer hours.
They’re right, from “making up” hours from your vacation and sick days, to working 8am to 9pm on a lighter day because your client needs the project done yesterday is a day in the life of a PR pro.
It’s probably also common for you to panic at the thought of even mentioning work/life balance. The best that you can hope for is some work/life blend, which means you can do something like have a dog, but need to bring your pup to the office and also have them work overtime.
But not to worry! We’re here to help you get a dog, date, go to the gym, or maybe cook something besides ramen for dinner. We know that happy, relaxed employees are less burned out and there’s less turnover. Don’t forget, they’re more creative.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. “Well that’s nice, but it’s impossible.”
Wait a hot second; let’s not jump to conclusions here. We have some tips and tricks for you that will give you the chance to come as close to work/life balance as possible.
“Balance” Can Take Different Shapes
Balance is about making time for you. Yes, we said you. For some of us, work’s the only important thing in our lives, and for us we might love working a zillion hours, only to go home to pass out and do it all over again at 5am. While you might admire the workaholic who’s always in the office, you might want to make room to do something fulfilling, like play guitar, train for tough mudder, or go out with friends. Maybe you want to come in at 7am and leave at 3pm, or take a longer lunch break and leave later. You might have less time on projects, but you’ll have more motivation while you’re working.
You’re not superman, so stop pretending to be.
Making time to be an overall happier person means you might have to let go of other things. You might secretly want to be a pop star and a Nobel Prize winner for discovering a cure, but realistically you also can only commit to a few things at a time. Most people commit to a combination of work, lookin’ good, a hobby, and loved ones.
That being said, priorities are different for each person, and we also realize that commitments can be limited. For example, if Jane Doe wants to be an outstanding creative director, a caring mother/wife, and a reliable friend, let’s face it, she might skip the gym on more than a few occasions.
If you’re at a creative agency, this means breaking ties with clients and projects that aren’t beneficial to you. Analytical tools and productivity software really come into play here, because it shows you which projects are succeeding and which aren’t—and especially when clients are sucking you dry.
Work hard and Smart
Like we mentioned before, software helps you achieve work/life balance by allowing you to work with your colleagues to spread the work around and cutting out fluff. Instead of searching for information in vain, instead you can brainstorm ideas that’ll make you and your department more efficient. Instead of getting into a tizzy about what’s expected of you, you’re taking a deep breath and working your way down your checklist and aren’t over allocated.
This means you spend less time floundering, and more time at happy hour and out dancing with your friends on Saturday night because you don’t have to work on Sunday. Most people assume that their work suffers if they have balance. If you prioritize, shed the dead skin, and come up with a good system, you can have both balance and greatness, even at an agency.
We’re not saying it’s a perfect solution, but it’s a start. It might be even able to motivate you into creating your own solutions; after all, you’re the creative one here. As the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Until next time!