Isn’t summer supposed to be the time when ‘it’ quietens down and we have more time to think, not just do? I think such days are over for all of us, as we constantly look simultaneously at the immediate, near and longer term and the constant change our brands are constantly undergoing.
It’s constant. This is the new normal, we know that. So why am I writing about this here? It’s not to start a ‘busy-off’ with anyone (in fact, it’s time we all stop responding to people’s ‘How are you?’ pleasantries with: ‘Ooh I’m busy!’).
But with half the year behind us, I’ve decided it’s time to re-take control of my time. Long to-do lists, with all items marked priority, only serve to frazzle our brains and nerves. Ah, the busyness of business.
Holidays are on our minds (whether our own, or juggling the team’s holidays, clashes and cover), so let’s consider embracing that ‘summer feeling’ in a different way.
We’ve taken the time this week to pull together a series of content to help you: Stop. Take stock. Look around you. Breath. And reboot.
From the concept of the ‘slow marketing movement’, where we address the issue of the ‘Tinderisation’ of marketing to our five tips on how to reboot your marketing this summer, we are publishing ideas and viewpoints to help you gain a little perspective on what matters.
We all can play a part in creating a little quiet - even if it's just by not being so noisy. Let's be more considered, respectful and, therefore, more valued and valuable
The antidote to the used-and-abused always-on marketing opportunity is to try to embrace the 'tortoise and hare' analogy, says James Kirkham, co-founder of Holler and global head of social and mobile at Leo Burnett Worldwide.
"There is an increasingly influential slow marketing movement," he says. "[It is] the natural response to the ‘fire hydrant’ philosophy of spraying your voice over every channel all the time and leaving people desperate for brand solace and a break from the noise."
I love the idea that we all can play a part in creating a little quiet - even if it's just by not being so noisy. Instead we can all be more considered, respectful and, therefore, more valued and valuable.
Your summer overhaul might well involve a reboot of your thinking in terms of putting a stop to juggling an ever-increasing to-do list; equally, it could be about addressing your happiness levels. This isn’t the first time we have written about making happiness a real KPI, but you do need to remind yourself of this - at least I do.
I believe there are benefits in finding the time to be mindful. Not that I'm a regular mindfulness practitioner, but after a short course last month, I was reminded of just what a difference five minutes of quiet, inward reflection and breathing can make in terms of mental and physical relaxation.
Not for everyone, but it was great for me.
Presenteeism is out
If you need a hand to figure out your stress levels, we’ve gone all Buzzfeed and devised a quiz to identify where you are on the scale of stresshead, from Laidback Larry to Digital Overload.
Although it is a bit of fun, it is underlined with a serious message. We all have bad habits, and rather than accept ‘That’s just the way I do things!’, we can all make a change for the better (for everyone).
As presenteeism gets replaced with flexible, agile working - read Beyond Agile: what happens when keeping ahead is holding you back - our ‘outputs’ rather than ‘inputs’ have never been so important.
As if by magic, when you relinquish your anxious grip on something, it more naturally falls into place
Few brownie points are given out in progressive companies to the person who pulls repeated 12-hour days but has no new projects or products to show for it.
As Catherine Salway says in our piece on CMOs offering tips on how to refresh your marketing mojo, it can be a good thing to remind ourselves of the "pointlessness" of the task in hand in order to alleviate stress.
"I always have close-to-hand mantras like ‘this doesn’t matter at all’ or ‘this too will pass’ or ‘let it be’. We humans are scampering around trying to create wealth, but, ultimately, a lot of it is pointless and sometimes damaging.
"Even when doing something seemingly noble like launching a socially conscious business, I’ve learned it will backfire if I get stressed or take it too seriously. As if by magic, when you relinquish your anxious grip on something, it more naturally falls into place."
Are you a mastiff?
I'm very Mastiff and a little bit Hound
Not all these approaches will appeal to every taste, but the rewards of, at least, taking time out to reflect on your role and those of the people around you, will pay back your efforts.
There's a lot to be said for team profiling - understanding your role, the characters who make up your team, and how we can all work together to achieve our best.
Earlier this month, Team Marketing took a few hours out of our busy day to undergo a session that would see us labelled as dogs.
No offence was taken. The concept behind the Packtypes self-awareness cards is not dissimilar to psychological profiling, however the approach is far more sophisticated and accessible than any other I've done. Essentially, you choose cards with a word on each one that best represents you. The reverse of the cards has one of eight dog types on - meaning in the end your chosen 12 cards can be broken down into dog packs.
So, I'm very Mastiff and a little bit Hound and rather Coachdog. Analysing the cards, I discovered I was very ideas and communications focused, but rather lacking in processes and organisation. Oh dear! Luckily the great team around me complement my skillset. Time to systemise my creativity.
My point in all this is that no one should be so busy as to not take some time at lunchtime for themselves, or find five minute during the day to step away (physically or mentally) to take stock, reflect and come back to the task in hand with renewed clarity.
Let’s banish the noise, one five-minute slot at a time.