The idea that, without “hustle,” without throwing away nights and weekends, without putting your life on hold for your work, you’ll somehow be more successful, more productive, is ridiculous to me, yet continues to be pushed by participants in our industry left and right. This is, quite simply, insane.
So, dear reader, I implore you: If this post at all rings true, sounds a little too familiar, do yourself a favor — take a vacation. Get away from your work for a bit. Reset. And when you come back, pick some number under 35 and try working that many hours per week, and no more.
I could not agree more with these words of wisdom from Kyle Bragger. When I left the interactive agency world to start Style Hatch I completely eliminated working on the weekends, on average I work less than 40 hours a week, rely on my team more, and frequent vacations with my family disconnected from work. As a result my time in the office is far more focused and productive when I know that my day ends at 5pm.
Often I’m faced with that nagging urge to go back to putting in 80 hour weeks and out hustling the competition, but I would rather choose a pace that I can stick with for a lifetime while valuing time with my wife and three kids.
Work smarter not harder.
Giles Turnbull of the Morning News takes on the “20 Craziest Job Interview Questions” list that CBS Money Watch recently published.
Facebook: Twenty-five racehorses, no stopwatch, five tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.
The fewest number of races is one. Just keep those suckers running round and round and round until they collapse from exhaustion. The final three make it through, the rest end up as dog food. Actually, I thought that’s how they make dog food.
Found on Kottke.org
Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.
Ira Glass, on taste and creative work
Found on Kottke
I’m doing it. No more playing around. I’m manning up. I’m doing the old man schedule.
—Matthew Smith, Squaredeye
Over the last few months I have attempted—unsuccessfully—to switch to a much earlier schedule built around highly productive early mornings, getting the most out of time with my family, and cutting out all of the late nights. I always feel like I accomplish significantly more on the old man schedule, but I need to learn the ability to fight the urge to stay up late just to get “one more thing done”.
Co-Founder of Tumblr and the one-man-force behind Instapaper.
Take a look under the hood at Firstborn. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a few of the guys (and girls) at Firstborn over the last few years. They really do have a fantastic team. The quality of work that they’ve been producing lately is beyond amazing.
Make sure you check out all of Firstborn’s work.
Things that matter
- Work quality in your portfolio
- Are you a cool person
- Do I know anyone who knows you
Things that don’t matter: your resume and school you graduated from—if you graduated.
Read the rest of the post by Mike Davidson
Absolutely anyone can sell crappy work to clients. It’s actually quite easy, and on of the main reasons why there are so many terrible ads, mediocre campaigns, and uninspired websites reeking of sameness. If you want to sell a truly unique idea or creative work to a client it will take hard work and serious effort.
Here are a few key points from the article: know the work inside and out, pick apart your idea, be ready to fight for your ideas, believe in what you’re presenting, and brass balls can help too.
After you finish reading part 1, continue on to part 2.
From 37signals’ book REWORK, illustration by Mike Rohde
Our culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic. We hear about people burning the midnight oil. They pull all-nighters and sleep at the office. It’s considered a badge of honor to kill yourself over a project. No amount of work is too much work.
Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it’s stupid. Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more.
Workaholics make the people who don’t stay late feel inadequate for “merely” working reasonable hours. That leads to guilt and poor morale all around. Plus, it leads to an ass-in-seat mentality—people stay late out of obligation, even if they aren’t really being productive.
- Excerpt from 37signals’ REWORK released today, download PDF excerpt
There has been several times in my career where I fell into this cycle working countless nights and weekends. Looking back a lot of what drives workaholism is insecurity in your work and approval from your peers. When you fall into the cycle of workaholism it always takes far longer to make creative decisions, think critically and produce exceptional work. In my personal experience, after putting in the long hours any ground I gained was usually lost the following day or week as I struggled with not having enough downtime for my mind to be fresh.
There is a distinct difference from being a workaholic and pulling the very rare all-nighter in an effort to sprint towards a deadline. One will leave you constantly trying to make up for lost productivity with endless hours and the other gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment in launching a project.
Over the last few years I have actively worked at shifting mindset from working around the clock to working with intense focus and productivity. As a result I have been able to accomplish more that I am proud of, and more importantly I have been able to spend far more time with family enjoying life.