2012 planning may have wrapped up four or five months ago, but 2011 actually still persists ... hanging on, in fact, for four more lazy end-of-year days. What will next year really bring to the friendly confines of agency life? What will you promise yourself to make it even better?
A few friendly suggestions (from the girl with an opinion about everything):
For better work:
- Don't stay too long: Even the best people can't keep doing the same thing forever. We get clouded by what we've done before, what rejections we've heard, and what roadblocks we've hit. Keep changing it up - new account, new role, new hobby, new gig.
- Wander around: Get out of the hotel rooms, conference rooms, observation rooms more. Wander around the mall, the medical center, every city you find yourself in. Make time to check out the world.
- Read more: Refresh your RSS feed, find a new periodical (One Story, HBR, BigThink), follow your customers' blogs, generally consume more fodder and inspiration (mental fiber). Share the best stuff.
- Take a break from all the metaphors: Yeah, I know it's like riding a bike, but people are only nodding at that because (1) you are and (2) they know what riding a bike is (not necessarily how it applies to creating a chemical compound)
- Invite strange people to lunch: Maybe strange is the wrong word. How about: different. Have great conversations about everything and nothing that lead you to think about things in new ways.
- Design a better expense reporting system (ok, that one's just for me, but if you're up for it...)
For better life:
- Cancel fewer plans: Treating every RSVP as a maybe is the epidemic of our generation. Make the plans you want to make, keep them. Turn all others down gracefully.
- Write: Not just in PPT.
- Meet normal people: Yesterday, a colleague asked me to recommend a mom roughly our age for a panel. The only catch: She had to be outside the industry. I came up with ... ONE, and she's married to an ad guy. (Do you know normal? Hardest Advergirl quiz ever)
- Get inspired: Beat back the cynicism of office life with a little real life inspiration. Go to the theater, see more live music, buy art. (Spending an hour on Pinterest does not count)
- Read your Rob Brezny horoscope: It's 60 seconds/week that are like reading a Hunter S Thompson, being back in college and thinking about your life as a Blitzen Trapper song. Seriously, sign up.
For good intentions that will be left behind by January 6 (at the latest):
- Don't eat the random junk food and cold pizza that people leave in the office kitchen (that's their garbage - not your lunch)
- Do your timesheets daily
- Show up to meetings on time
- Give a little email amnesty (borrow from VW and resist the urge to email before 8 and after 6)
- Don't work at least one day every week: No email on your phone, no PowerPoint over breakfast, no highlighting the RFP in front of the TV. Just don't work.