That Feeling Of With All The Time You Work, You Still Feel Like It Is Never Complete
If there is one constant in our business over the years, it is that public relations agency people lament on their regular feeling that they can never get all their work done. You leave the office after a long day and on the drive home, you think about all the things you didn’t get done. At night, you toss and turn worried about an interview or who will show up at an event. In the morning on your way in, you dread opening your in-box for yet a new set of deadlines and assignments.
I chose this topic because this can be a lonely profession. Even though we work in a team environment and have people we can ask for help, the buck still pretty much stops which each of us to get the work done for our clients. When we don’t, or can’t live up to our own expectations, we feel inept or like we are not cutting it. We feel like there is no one to turn to and we internalize the problem.
Welcome to the agency business. There are deadlines and priorities constantly being hurled at us and changed repeatedly. But this is the “rush” of the agency business, we are in the trenches executing and getting the work done. In our firm, so focused on media relations, we are also in the news business, reacting to events as they break.
You have to feel the “rush” to be happy in the agency business. If change and pressure is not your thing, there are still places for you in our industry, but most likely not on the agency side.
So how do we balance the “rush” the reality of our lives outside the office? How do we balance our work with our families’ needs and wants, and our own interests? The answer is to create boundaries.
When I am not traveling, though I am in the office by 7:30 a.m. and usually don’t leave until 6 or 6:30 in the evening, I rarely turn on my laptop at home to do work, unless it is essentially. Sure, I’ll sneak a peak at my Android every now and then, but I try to focus on other things once I am home. Sundays, I block out a few hours of work in the early morning, before my family is up and about, but try to leave the majority of the day open to them. That doesn’t mean that I reach these goals 100-percent of the time, but I try to create some element of balance.
What about feeling like your work is never done? So the answer is yes, I feel this way all the time. However, instead of focusing on what did not get done, I focus on my accomplishments that day. That usually makes me feel fairly productive and able to go to sleep that night without the massive worries about what didn’t get done.
But back to that “rush.” What enables me to be up at 5:15 six days a week is the hunt. I happen to really enjoy what we do for clients, enjoy the constant change of our business, and also the constant learning. Everyday is different. We have the ability to learn something new about an industry, process or service that we didn’t know yesterday. Like the hunter, we are going into the woods everyday to catch something. It might be a good client hit, coming up with a new program for a client or new piece of business.
You have to feel the rush in order to perform at your best. If you aren’t ready to go out on the hunt, you won’t catch anything either.