Be less busy —
Something we work hard to avoid at JAC& is stress. It’s unfortunately common in our industry to consider being busy and stressed as a sign of success. Regular overtime is a given in a lot of studios and agencies, as unrealistic client demands are often met in what should be someone’s time with their family or loved ones. It’s disheartening to see creative businesses championing this tone when the work we do is, for the most part, incredibly enjoyable and rewarding.
Admittedly, very occasionally, it’s unavoidable to become stressed. With small business in particular, there are a lot of hats to balance and from time to time they can topple. The past financial year was one of our busiest at JAC&, we grew the business and settled into a new pace after launching 43 Derby Street. In an effort to retain a sense of calm, we recently reviewed our time-management approach and thought it might be helpful to share with others.
Think big picture
And write it down! To understand our current workload we regularly update and print a list of all client work, internal work and potential or upcoming projects. When things become busy (or quiet) this is a useful piece of paper to have around.
No project (external or internal) should be left floating around without a schedule attached to it. At the beginning of each project, we create a schedule for everyone involved to keep on hand. Having agreed dates in place ensures people are on the same page and accountable.
The studio diary looks fairly scary with its rainbow of colours and jumble of tasks, there is order in the chaos though! When a project schedule is set, every task associated goes into the diary ahead of time. This ensures there is always adequate time set aside, deadlines are met and conflicts can be avoided.
Things happen and life can sometimes get in the way of a perfectly organised diary. When things don’t go to plan, communicate early with clarity. When there is an open and honest dialogue, people are generally understanding and accommodating to change.
This isn’t a groundbreaking approach (and there are plenty of project management apps that could likely automate the process) but it does help us stay calm and productive. Staying organised, in whatever way works for you, allows you to be ‘less busy’, do better work and ultimately enjoy your life without unnecessary stress.