Cut Yourself Some Slack

If you work in advertising or a related field, it’s likely that you work too many hours and juggle too many tasks. For your own good, your firm’s benefit and your client’s benefit, stop it now.
This story in Fortune explains why.

What scientists have only recently begun to realize is that people may do their best thinking when they are not concentrating on work at all. If you’ve ever had a great idea pop into your head while you were washing your car, walking your dog, or even napping, you already know what a team of Dutch psychologists revealed last month in the journal Science: The unconscious mind is a terrific solver of complex problems when the conscious mind is busy elsewhere or, perhaps better yet, not overtaxed at all.
In the era of knowledge work, the most prosperous companies will turn out to be those that encourage people to build some slack into their days.

The article goes on to give Google as an example of a company that is famously laid-back. Google’s Bay Area headquaters feature lap pools, massage rooms, pool tables, free haute cuisine, and loads of other stress-reducing amenities like onsite dry cleaners and hair stylists.

“We want to take as much hurry and worry out of people’s lives as we can, because a relaxed state of mind unleashes creativity,” says Stacy Sullivan, the company’s HR director. “And everybody’s on flextime here, so we don’t reward face time or working super-long hours. We just measure results.”

It shouldn’t take an enlightened management team to say results are all that matter. Although, some degree of enlightment may be needed to get managers to push themselves and their workers away from their laptops and handhelds during working hours. Worker bees too need to let go of the fallacy that a nose-to-the-computer-screen mentality is the only way to grow a career.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.