Working in an agency is a constant battle. Everyday you are given a task and an ask to continually bring in something new, innovating and “FRESH.” I get asked the same question every time: “How do you keep coming up with ideas?”
With everything that gets thrown at you at an agency you need to slow things down in your mind and handle things one at a time and as they come. As a creative in this space one thing you need to remember is that your mind is the most important thing so you need to learn how to organize your day and handle or even minimize stress. A simple answer to the question of constantly staying on top of your creative game is “Finding time for yourself” as well as 80’s cartoons. Here are 6-ways to stay fresh:
Its funny, I am usually not the type of person that would tell anyone to meditate but I think that this section definitely deems that title. Now I am not saying to find a corner in your office, throw a mat on the floor and begin humming to yourself for thirty minutes, what I am talking about is finding some time to reset your mind.
People do it all the time, they just don’t know they’re doing it – people watching at Starbucks, walking around the neighborhood and taking in the scenery, reading a book, listening to music, using the washroom or writing a blog. Whatever activity you can do for 10-15 minutes that takes you away from the rest of the 8 hours of your work day; I use 8 hours loosely especially being a creative in the advertising industry because its really more like 10-12 strenuous hours as well as the rest of the night thinking about how you could have made things better.
Here are some ideas to meditate at work:
- 12 Most Powerful Ways to Meditate Quickly at Work
- 8 Ways to Make Meditation Easy and Fun
- The Best Way to Avoid Work: Desk Meditation
One of the greatest things about working in an agency is the fast-paced hustle-and-bustle of everyday work, each day is a new challenge and you need to face it with “positive” enthusiasm. When dealing with account managers, project managers and the rest of the creative team (UI/UX, copywriters, designers, strategists, etc), remember that you are all working towards the same goal and are trying to accomplish the same challenges. By bringing positivity into any project encourages team building and extreme creative thinking – this is when synergy is born.
When working with a vast team and especially walking on a very tight timeline, try to be present. Now this doesn’t mean make all the meetings and show your face, this means to be in the moment – engage, interact, suggest. Its very beneficial to be a team player and learn from the other people’s strengths, knowledge, experience and research that are on your team. I am looking at this section from the standpoint of designing for the digital age – for more traditional designers this may not be as important.
For our digital designers out there who are designing and conceptualizing brochure sites, e-commerce sites, email newsletters and even simple banners; the beauty and advantage we have is solid data to help guide us through the design approach, there are also specialists who may be a part of the team that fill the role as UI/UX designers as well as creative strategists who can help guide the design process as well. My advice for you as the main creative – the one who will take the horse by the reins and steer the whole design when the day is done and the meetings are over – show initiative and lead, creatives have to own their design and display a form of knowledge to their team when it comes to best practices and design recommendations – this cannot be done effectively if your presence is not present.
Working at an agency, your body will take a beating – from the time you enter the office to the time you leave, you may only have a few minutes to sit and rest if you don’t organize your time well and respect your own well-being. Have you ever started to work and happen to forget this concept called “time” and by the time you know it, it’s time to leave? You need to take care of yourself through these hours of creative exercises; staying hydrated is key, don’t believe me? try sitting at your desk without taking a sip of water for a few hours, your body will slowly breakdown, your mind will get groggy and your response time will be affected; all-in-all you will be less effective.
You must also find time to work on your body, take a 1-hour spin class, yoga session or cross-fit course during your lunch break – when you come back you will be fully energized, if not sore, and ready to complete the second half of your day. Respect your body and creativity will flow.
When you surround yourself with creative people who are motivated to expand their own horizons and capabilities, you will discover that you are constantly growing and learning as well. By being with a group of creative friends can help you see things from a different perspective and be a sounding board for you to bounce your own ideas around. These kinds of people will challenge you intellectually and creatively, helping you to grow and think differently about your work and the world around you. Think I was kidding about the 80s cartoons I referenced in the beginning? Think again, ever wonder why some shows and cartoons resonate more than others? Why you think Voltron is better than Silver Hawk? or why you couldn’t get enough of Heathcliff and ThunderCats? Answer those questions and implement it into your ideas and you will end up with a memorable campaign.
Also, be prepared for “creative flagellation” that’s when your standing in line at the local Corner Bakery when all of a sudden you are enlightened with an idea – always have a way to jot these ideas down through a notebook you carry, smartphone or tablet. I always find that the best ideas are the ones that just come to you out from nowhere – its as if your mind never stopped thinking when you thought you shut down and then all of a sudden the lightbulb turned on.
The great thing about being creative is that the only real barriers are the ones you set for yourself, yes there may be guidelines in some instances, but don’t let that hinder your creativity – use those guidelines as challenges for you to be a little bit more bold in you approach, to look at the problems and issues differently, to think in ways that will help you grow as a creative person – the mere definition of a creative person is a person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination – so be imaginative, have others see and believe things from your point-of-view, take them on a creative journey that only you can show.
Here are some examples of creative people thinking outside the box:
- YouTube: The Missing Persons Pre-Roll
- Oreo Daily
- K-Mart “Ship My Pants”
- Volvo Trucks “The Epic Split feat. Van Damme”
- Nike “Possibilities”
Remember, one of the most important things is to keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Stay open to learning new things, trying new things, and seeing things with a different perspective. When you’re curious and willing to explore the world around you, you can find inspiration and creativity just about anywhere.
Here is a fun infographic that I will leave you with I found on Creattica: