By Aaron McFarland, Owner & CEO
Marketing agency life is always hectic. There is never a shortage of last-minute client requests and looming deadlines to keep your blood pumping and energy levels up throughout the week. New, never-seen-before challenges present themselves daily, and an internal hurdle or two to always manages to keep things interesting.
As a marketing agency, our staff hours primarily match that of our clients, meaning the usual Monday through Friday business days, 9:00 5:00 P.M., with irregular weekend work for studio appointments or special client needs. Our agency and studio calendars are almost always fully scheduled with advertising or creative meetings, video production shoots, studio reservations, and project reviews. This busy schedule doesn’t leave much time to handle personal business or home life tasks until the weekend.
Personally, as an agency owner, I work most days and evenings on new client proposals and general business management tasks. A few months ago, I realized that as the weeks went on I was feeling more and more tired – especially on Mondays when I should be rested after the weekend and ready to tackle my upcoming week. I usually sit down in my home office on Sunday evenings to get our weekly Monday meeting notes ready, plan the upcoming week for my team, check project progress and deadlines, etc. One Sunday I looked down at my watch in the late afternoon, noticing it was nearly time to sit down and prepare my week soon, only to internally sigh and think “I could really use another day off.” This same thought persisted for 6-8 weeks until it was obvious I needed to change something.
After some introspection on my normal weekend, it became increasingly obvious my relaxation time on weekends was anything but that. After sleeping in (which is a must on weekends for me – alarms don’t exist on weekends), I would routinely get up Saturday morning and clean my kitchen and straighten up the house… Then I’d notice the floors were dirty, so I needed to take care of that. Then, “Oh, I need to go grocery shopping.” Then my laundry and bedding needed washed and changed. Don’t forget about the lawn and the weeds! That garage is kind of a mess too! And so on, and so on. You know how it goes.
Weekends weren’t for resting, relaxing, and recharging, they were about catching up on my personal and home tasks and responsibilities. Before I had time to walk the dog or take my son to a movie, the weekend was gone and it was time to start thinking about the upcoming work week again – and that didn’t include spending a few weekend hours working the studio or a client job.
I brought this sentiment to my team, and It turned out they all felt the same way. With the intense client workload and creative schedule we were maintaining, there just wasn’t enough time on weekends to handle their personal lives and come back to the office recharged and ready to get creative for our clients. This wasn’t sustainable, and I knew something needed to change.