Agency Growth Tips 5/21: It’s the workend.

Published 06.03.2019

The title is not spelling mistake. Not at all my dyslexic madness.

As a believer in both reductive simplicity and nudge theory, I would like to rebrand those precious two days at the end of the working week. To make a statement to agency folk and entrepreneurs everywhere. That this sacred 48 hour period is very special. Very important. And often completely misused.

So, I would like to change the common definition of Saturday and Sunday. A name change is what I am talking about. Moving away from the useless definition that is ‘The Weekend’.

Changing it to ‘The Workend’.

With the unique value proposition of ‘The two dedicated days that were designed and made, to let the you reconnect with your world and let your stresses fade.’

The irony that I am spending some of my Saturday writing this article, does not escape me. I promise. But these articleds are important to me in a different way to my work.

This will probably be one of the most important of my Agency Growth Tips. You are free to ignore each and every one of them. Disagree with the other 20 if you like. It will impair your growth – because they’re not my rules… they are simply the basics of our business.

But, this topic is something I know all about. Ignore 5/21and yes your agency will suffer. More importantly you will. Your family will. Your friends will. Your health will. Your life will. And it’s your life you are trying to fuel with your career.

Please. Don’t forget that.

To me, the weekend was those two days that you were free to work without interruption. 48 hours when your clients didn’t get in touch. Well, until Sunday night at least.

There is no single topic I care more about than this. And that all came to light a little too late for me in many way. I’m going to try not to get too heavy here – but I really want to get my point across.

My weekend tips are going to be about the most important thing in your life, career and agency.

And that, is YOU. Let’s get to it…

Agency Growth Tip 5/21: It’s the Workend.

You matter. You are important. People love you. You love people. You have friends. Family. More important things to do than anything that will EVER be on your to do list.

Those things. The people above far what really matter. They are fundamental to a happy life.

You are not a machine. You cannot work 24/7 and be at your best. You can’t eat crap food at your desk and bed fully focused. Bad fuel in a car equals poor performance. Same with you.

You cannot function at your best on no sleep and caffeine up to your eye balls. You cannot be the best you if you allow work pressures to turn into stress.

You cannot be fully functioning without regular exercise and breaks. You can’t. Its impossible.

“Yes I can, I thrive on pressure”, “I’m a machine”, “No one works harder”, “Gary V said…”, “I haven’t got time to take breaks”, “Only I can do it”, “No one else is good enough”, and on and on and on goes our own bullshit.

Listen to it at your peril. The lies we tell ourselves about this subject are incredibly powerful. And they are a weakness.

Yes we have to work hard. Bootstrap. Fight. Burn some midnight oil. I am not saying agency life should be all yoga retreats, massages at your desk and a zen like state of mind.

Good luck with that. But in amongst the madness of what we do – their must be balance. Their must be you.

You are amazing. You are what someone looks forward to most. You are wanted. And needed. And loved. And adored.

And although our industry does it’s level best to blow the idea of work-life balance out of the water, it’s indecision or bad decisions that make this a fact. We are complicit in most of our problems.

I was in mine.

You don’t need all the details… this isn’t a place for me to vent. A number of times, for a number of reasons in my working life, work took over. My work, my output, my company became not so much a hiding place – but perhaps the only place I felt like me. A safety net. Where my identity and efforts became inextricably linked.

I suffered from burnout. Silently. For about 4 years before I couldn’t really hide my problems. I gave myself to my business. Some of that was ego – don’t feel bad for me. Some of it was I didn’t know better. But I prioritised work over life. People I loved. My friends. I was the consummate canceller. Always late. Last minute with everything I did. Super talented. So my work didn’t suffer too much… but what mattered, really suffered.

My story won’t be yours. My story doesn’t end at the worst times in my career. But it nearly did. My mental health suffered. Depression kicked in. On top of, at the time, undiagnosed ADHD. Addiction was next. It nearly killed me. I owe my life, particularly, to one very kind person, who had every right to walk away from me. But they had their priorities right, even though I didn’t. And I am very grateful for it.

Sadly, I am one of those chaps that needs to learn things the hard way.

But I do learn.

I have learnt that work is work, not life. Or they’d swap name. I know that taking time out is critical for clear thinking and brilliant ideas. That your health matters more than anything. Without that, we have very little of any real value.

I used to have a client, in retail, one of the toughest games of all, that lived in Spain. His business was based in the UK. His family lived in Malaga, if I remember right. He used to fly in for a four day working week – and he worked like hell during those four days in the UK. And get back to his family for the weekend.

I asked him how the hell he did it. He told me that his commute from Spain to London, was shorter than Portsmouth to London, where he’d lived previously. That he included the airport in his working day. That his family were the most important thing in his world, so he makes them feel that way by being there. Being present. Being available. And this was way before to mindful movement.

He asked me about that feeling you get when you’ve gone on holiday when you get back to work as a business owner. Writing inspired ideas on the flight home. Getting back and being full of energy and enthusiasm.

He asked how many holidays I took a year. One. Maybe two I said. He said, he has 52. Every weekend. It felt so out of reach. But I got it.

His story may feel far removed. I am not recommending a mass exodus to Spain. But, it doesn’t take much thinking to get it.

Life and our individual happiness is not about what is happening around us. It’s about how we see it. Being busy isn’t a bad thing. It’s great. And if you’re fresh and fired up, you can probably do more work in four or five days than you can do in seven days depressed, stressed and tired.

Actually, there’s no doubt about.

But you do have to build a life, in your life. Find your space. Say no. Not always. Come on. I get it. I know. I really know how hard this game is.

But on a Friday night. Let the work end. It’s your weekend. In fact, it’s your family’s weekend too.

Pretty much none of us will be lucky enough to create ads that everyone is talking about in fifty years time. Sure, some will. But not many. But your family will remember you if you’re there. Present. Happy. And healthy.

Take care of yourself. Your business will be better for it. And everyone around you.

For your agency to be making profits, please do not kid yourself that your life has to be full of losses.

Life is a gift. Have a great weekend.