By Jem Bauermeister
Last week we had a masterclass from Vikki called “how to free your mind” and it turned into a bit of a therapy session with people asking how the heck do we make time for everything. We’ve just handed in PB1 and next week we will be juggling PB2, 3 and 4 as well as pitching two live briefs and being set two more. The work is ramping up every single week and reflections on Friday really showed it. The brief for reflections was “what did you learn from PB1?” and half the reflection slides said something about time management.
So, John is learning to juggle our time. And it’s tough. On top of our workload, Marc mentioned, as he often does, that we should be collecting more dots. We should also be doing more research, writing more personas, reading more books, consuming more culture, sending more thank you notes to mentors, asking for more feedback, feeding our monsters, going to more industry events, 6-hatting more, cooking proper meals, writing SCABs, meditating more and updating the group notes.
Vikki chased us for updates on our documentaries that we are producing, one of the mentors (I can’t remember who) said we need to be watching more TV, Alex said we should be studying more Helmut Krone, Dave Pearl said we should be speaking to more strangers, JJ wants us to make more topical ads, Ian wants us to be spending more time with him learning our craft, Dusty said we should be scamping more, Mehmet said we should be practising more coding, my bank account says I should be working at the pub more and Gnome said in her last SCAB that we should be getting enough sleep.
And on top of all that, Marc says we are currently operating at 40%. The panic in the room was real when he said that. How can we ever do more than what we are doing now?
“Always do more” rings through my head constantly from the minute I step through the doors at SCA every day. And I know when I’ve ignored it because as Marc walks over I either get a feeling of excitement to show him what I’ve done or I get a feeling of dread. Not dreading criticism, I’m hungry for criticism. Dread that I’m going to get that look where he knows I know I haven’t pushed it far enough. When there’s almost no point in asking him to show me the holes in my work because I can see them all myself. And it’s embarrassing because he doesn’t need to say it. He just asks a bunch of questions beginning with “do you think…?” and my stomach sinks as I realise how much more work I’ve got to do.
SCA is exhausting. How are we supposed to be doing all this extra stuff and having a life too?
But I’ve learned a few things over the last couple of weeks that have really helped. I re-kindled my love for behavioural economics and decided to try to hack myself into finding more time in the day. If Obama and Branson and Marc can do it then so can I.
So I tried to figure out where I can find more time. I went on to my phone, went to settings and battery. On there if you tap the little clock icon it tells you how much time you spend on each app on screen. Facebook was scarily high. 2 hours in the last day I’d spent on it. I tried to think of something I could remember from it. Someone I hardly know had got engaged but other than that I couldn’t think of anything. That’s two hours wasted every single day. I used to always lie to myself “oh it’s fine, I read articles and find out what the world is up to through Facebook” but there are better ways to do that. So I deleted Facebook. But that wasn’t enough, I knew I would habitually return to the place on my phone where Facebook once was. And I also wasn’t reading enough so I replaced the Facebook icon with the Kindle app. I’ve read two books since I did that in the last two weeks.
Another change I made was waking up earlier. Now waking up early might not be for everyone but I found myself taking a lot longer to do anything when I’m falling asleep than when I’ve got up and had a shower. So sometimes I go to school almost two hours before town hall starts. If I did that all week that would be an extra ten hours that I’d bought myself. However, last week I did that a few days and I got absolutely nothing done. If I’ve learned anything from the Facebook hack, it’s that I don’t need more time, I just need to use my time more wisely.
So next week I’m going to challenge myself to actually get stuff done in the mornings. It’s not about finding more time somewhere, it’s about hacking it. It’s about identifying where you’re being unproductive and filling that time with something that actually helps. Even if it’s reading fiction or spending time with friends. But I am so guilty of feeling smug about being early when in reality my time would have been better spent sleeping so that I’m feeling more energetic for the day.
I’m going to put this pledge in a SCAB so that I can’t go back on it… Next week I will spend at least half an hour every morning either updating or reading the group notes and at least half an hour scamping. (Apart from pitching days when I’ll be rehearsing my pitch). Someone hold me to it…