The day to day life of a modern-day marketer is expected to be intensely productive and creative at once. With multiple meetings, the pressure of the fast-moving digital space, and constant collaboration and goals, it’s tough for marketers to be dynamic and innovative. According to AdWeek, the average workweek for a marketing pro is 40-49 hours, and many work weekends. More importantly, no two days are the same. The scattered, harsh schedule and expectations don’t allow for a lot of creative breathing room.
Dave Stevens, Founder and Chair of the B2B network the Business Marketing Club, says it best: “The drivers of productivity in marketing may well get more work done but may not get smarter work done. If handled inadequately – and they frequently are in my experience – they hamper creativity."
So, how can marketers find their most creative and dynamic selves? Well – that’s a tough question but there are always solutions. Grab a nice hot mug of tea and take a moment for yourself on the internet. You’re back at your desk? Great, let’s dig in.
Oh – and quick reminder before we start. Everyone is creative. So, if you’re not a marketer, you could take advantage of this list, too.
Keep in Mind that Creativity Leads to Productivity
The productive process needs creativity. In order to be creative, teams need to be productive about their research and needs. Both feed off one another. The beginning of being creative is asking the right questions. Who’s buying this? What do they like to do? What do they value? This will save breaks and pauses in the creative process and output, thus increasing productivity. On the flip side, creativity sparks productivity because people are passionate about the projects they’re putting through; all of those big ideas.
Be Kind to Yourself
This is a tough one! Being kind to yourself is one thing outside of work but it’s just as important at work. Some people keep a “Warm Fuzzies” folder saved on their email, where they file away compliments and moments that make them happy. Tap into that every once in a while. Creating never stops. In fact, you’re creating right now as you sit completely still – as you exhale Co2. Don’t dwell on your failures. You won’t make deadlines. You won’t write everything you need in one day. Forgiveness eliminates all of that friction in your mind. And will ultimately keep you productive!
Allow time to Decompress
This is one of the most important things you can do, so you’re truly able to spend some time inside your mind and disconnect. Google implemented the 10% rule, a practice that allows its employees to devote that percentage of work time to R&D and learning. That secures a pretty big chunk of work time. In a UK-based work week, that’s a half day per week. During your work week, you can trim this time commitment down a bit and spend a lunch or 30 minutes a day to learning, going on a walk, or reading a book. It’s important to make this small chunk of each day a priority.
Lists Are Obligation Wallpaper
It might sound crazy, but it’s time to lose the lists! In this day and age, we tend to live in excess. We want more likes, followers, apps, campaigns – and we want it fast. This can be overwhelming to the creative process because we never allow ourselves to truly turn off and focus on the good stuff. Post-it-Notes are great reminders, but they become so long sometimes that they seem unattainable. Shorten and modernize those lists, people.
Collaboration is the Key to Productivity and Creativity
Collaboration should start at the beginning of any project and it’s the key to efficiency and creativity. Claire Bridges, author and Chief Spark and Founder of creative training consultancy Now Go Create, gives this advice: “Bring in every creative partner from the start of the process. With my experience from working in PR, the lead agency is often, though not always, the ad agency, and it drives the creative and other disciplines are viewed as ‘add-ons’ later down the line.”
No Rush, Please
Creative ideas can’t and shouldn’t be rushed and marketers should have that in the back of their mind always. Marketers and creatives should give themselves at least three days to think on an idea and the person directing the campaign should offer an example of a bad idea before they get started. However, there are a few things that should take less time. Brainstorming should only be an hour or so. Any longer is simply “too long.”
Make Deadlines Work
Deadlines help us become more productive. Why? Because self accountability and a set date helps the work get done well and on time. For example, you pay your phone bill because there’s a deadline (and you'll be fined if you don't pay it). On the contrary, you might not start a personal project you've been wanting to accomplish for a while because there’s not a deadline. When you start making productive due dates for your creative work, things will get finished. It's that easy!
If you have advice on how to find creativity and productivity, leave in the comments below. If you have more questions for STAR, we’re happy to answer them! Contact us here.