You may have noticed that there hasn’t been a new Ask Lawrence for a few weeks now. This is simply down to the fact that, from September through to the later part of the year, this is the peak period in the creative industry. As a result, it becomes important to manage time properly and to prioritise what needs to happen. While I love writing and having the opportunity to maintain my blog, I’m sure most people would agree that my time and energy needs to go into filling jobs with the right people.
This all flows nicely into the topic for this week’s blog; what tips would I offer when it is super busy! It is aimed largely at the freelance creatives that are out there although there are tips here that are going to benefit permanent creatives or non-creatives too.
The Key is Communication
Regardless of if you’re currently in a high-pressure environment working on multiple briefs, or if you’re trying to deal with countless calls from other clients and recruiters asking if you could help, clear communication is going to be the key to ensuring that there is a focus on what needs to be achieved and to create space for you to do that work in.
In the past, as freelancers have commenced new assignments, I’ve often recommended that they go in with a paper and pen to take notes while taking the brief. This can also help to establish what information is missing so you can ask the question at the time instead of spending too much time asking more questions and chasing responses.
While you may not be able to respond to all those other calls in the moment, set aside some time at the end of the day to get back to those people so that they know you’re unavailable. Including a date when you will be available again can help them manage their resource requirements too. This is also going to help to ensure that someone is looking out for you as you reach the end of your current assignment.
Take Proper Breaks and De-stress
It can be so easy when you’re under the pump to just ‘work through’ the entire day. Research has shown that this can actually have a counter-productive effect on your productivity over the course of the day. Not only that, sitting in that constant state of stress over the course of the day is only going to hinder your ability to think clearly and to focus.
Taking your lunch break means that you can have a moment away from your desk, having something to eat and ‘reset’ the mind. It could be an ideal time to invest in creating a mindfulness habit as well, which is going to help to (again) increase focus and to capable of dealing with stressful environments and situations.
Lastly, you want to ensure that you include some fun in your day. Yes, work is serious stuff however it doesn't mean that you can't have a laugh and actually enjoy your day, regardless of what stereotypes might exist around the workplace. Research has also shown the benefits of fun in the workplace too, so not only will it make how you spend your day more engaging but also help to make everyone more productive too.
Be Like a Squirrel and Save Your Nuts
If you’re in the freelance space, it can often be rather stressful living from assignment to assignment. To avoid having a hand to mouth existence when it gets to the end of the year and things become quiet again, aim to put aside a percentage of your pay packet each week. While ‘budgeting’ can often make people go pale with fear (or boredom), having a plan in place to manage your finances is going to ensure that you can continue to save while taking care of all those regular expenses coming through.
Have Some Time for Fun Outside of Work !
Depending on if you’re an introvert, extrovert or even an ambivert, make sure that you set aside some time to enjoy life. When it gets really busy and stressful, it can be too easy to feel trapped in that rat race existence of getting up, going to work, going home, having dinner, going to bed, repeat. If you’re an introvert and get your energy from having your space, setting aside some time to sit and read or listen to music at the end of the day to help you to unwind nicely. If you’re an extrovert, being around friends and doing something social can help, although obviously avoid anything that feels too much like ‘mid-week partying’. A nice civilised dinner, seeing a live band or even visiting a gallery / exhibition can allow you to feel that you’re doing something meaningful and enjoyable with your time.
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