Monday, January 06, 2014

New Year's Resolutions - All Time Top Five

I've been making New Year's Resolutions every year for the past 12 years or so.

Some of them are work-related, and some I think could apply to any Creative, any year.

Here are my Top 5:

1.  More coffee

Part of the Creative's job is to let your mind wander. As the tagline of this blog used to read: "When you see me staring into space, that's when I'm working." However, it needs to be productive staring. Productive staring is when your mind is wandering over the brief, and the random associations it throws up. But if you are sitting there monged-out, mind blank... that's unproductive staring.

Resolution: when mind has gone blank, drink coffee.

2.  More craziness

We're all under pressure, there's less time, clients are jumpy, yada yada. A lot of forces are pushing us towards safe solutions. At times, it's easy to forget that the truly breakthrough answers don't just 'solve the problem'. It's amazing how often they also have a spark of stupidity or craziness. As someone once said, "If an idea does not at first appear insane, it has no value."

Resolution: leave room for the crazy.

3.  More conversations

Innumerable times, over the years, my partner and I would be discussing a brief, and wonder "What does this bit mean?" Solution: ask the Planner. We'd also wonder if the CD had something particular in mind for the type of answer. Solution: ask him. As a CD or ECD myself, I've found the more conversations I have with the Client about what they want, the better things tend to go. As Creatives, especially in a large agency, you can be a bit removed from everyone else. And of course, at times you need to be, to have quiet space to create in.

Resolution: never wonder, or assume - keep having conversations with everyone, all the time.

4.  More caring

As mentioned, we're all under pressure. Clients perhaps even more than Agencies. We are there to help them achieve their commercial goals, and there's nothing wrong with that. But there is also more to life than commercial goals. Are you involved in a pro bono project at the moment? And if yes, are you doing it purely to win awards?

Resolution: do some stuff that is good for the soul, not just for the bottom line or the trophy shelf.

5.  More concentration

The empty mind is a problem (see Resolution #1) but an equal but opposite problem is the busy mind. It's so easy to find mental stimulation nowadays - there are a thousand cool and interesting articles and videos just waiting for you on the internet. But sometimes inputs are the enemy of output. Thinking is hard work and it's very tempting to just look at the internet instead. Not only is it instant entertainment, but you can also kinda kid yourself that it's useful because it might become an idea one day. And that's true. But it also might be work-avoidance.

Resolution: switch the computer off sometimes. Hey, and the phone too, buddy. Just

Have a great year!

1 comment:

Richo said...

Good observations Simon. I will take them on board while my head is clear in the new year!