Anyone who has ever worked in a communications agency knows that the fight for a work/life balance is never far from anyone’s minds.
And I am no different.
Last summer I travelled to Zanzibar, a gorgeous and remote island off the coast of East Africa and from the minute I arrived, I was in love. Stunning and secluded sandy beaches, sparkly turquoise seas, super- friendly locals and divine delicacies – it was difficult not to be. But it also didn’t go unnoticed that the Wi-Fi on the island was as unpredictable as the summer season.
How would I cope having broken contact with my clients???
Now I know what you’re thinking; everyone including those married to their jobs and working in ‘agency-life’ deserves a summer holiday. Well, you would be right. But as Client Leadership rockstars here at balcony8, it’s not so much about feeling like that vacation is not deserved. Because trust me, it’s well deserved. But as self-professed workaholics who love what we do, we have a real challenge not thinking about our jobs even in those ‘off hours.’
Which got me thinking, how can we strive for that work-life balance without being consumed by guilt and feeling like our clients will forget us before our fortnight is up?
Well here’s how I give it my best shot.
I’ve learned, and I am still learning, not to put too much pressure on myself. Instead of over-promising, I focus on over-delivering. You will be amazed how compassionate your clients can be if you are honest with your workload. And you can guarantee they will be ecstatic when the finished product is in their hands a day earlier than expected.
Set limits and stick to them. I’ve recently adopted a ‘no-response to client emails after 8pm’ attitude for myself and (so far), although challenging, its transformed my personal relationships. Just like I need to be fully engaged at work, I also need to be fully engaged at dinner, in the cinema and with my friends.
Every day, I also try to take at least 20 minutes out of my day just for me. Even when things get super-crazy at work and I can’t take my lunch hour (lunch, what even is that?), I ensure that I take my mental-breather. Whether that’s a walk to Lime Tree for my mocha-choca-caramel-frappa –latte, a browse on my Instagram or to daydream of a ‘hygge’ lifestyle on my Pinterest, it makes a world of a difference and allows me to focus on what needs to be done the rest of the day.
Stay positive and post those PMA mantras on Insta. Easier said than done when you’re trying to convince a creative to take a new brief at 15.55 on a Thursday afternoon with a deadline of the same day. But it’s true. It’s soooo easy to get wrapped up in the negative and the bulls*it of this industry, but I truly believe that by reciting some positive life affirmations, even posting those ‘#MondayMorningMantras’ on Instagram, on the more challenging days, will remind you why you love what you do. And when you love what you do, it’s easy to dive in headfirst.
So, whilst I’m not quite sure I’ve nailed that work/life balance just yet, I am giving it my best shot. Because the benefits of truly living outside of my job, not only makes me a more productive, positive and all-round interesting human being, but it allows me to make well-informed recommendations to add-value to my client’s businesses.
And a happy client = a happy agency.