I'm sure I've written this before but I can't find it, so here goes.
I was talking recently about being busy with a few friends. Mostly about our different strategies for coping with the crazy workloads we all have to face every now and then. Here's a few of my own very personal tips.
1. Work when you work best
I'm a morning person 100%. I could get up at 5am every day and be very happy. At the other end of the day by 10pm I'm ready for bed. I've fallen asleep in every pub and every house party I've ever been too.
So working late never works for me. Very quickly diminishing returns set in. If I have loads of work to do I go to bed early and set the alarm for 5am. And you know what? I get more done, at a quicker pace than I would have done in the evening. That's partly because of the ever approaching deadline of the day starting, but it's also because your brain is alert and you can make better decisions, faster.
2. Healthy body, healthy mind
If you're a creative a large part of your job involves making decisions. That's harder than you think. Making decisions involves a clear mind. You can't do this well if you feel tired or sluggish. Or hungover. So if I'm in a busy period I quite often stop drinking alcohol and eat loads of fruit. Simple, but it makes me feel healthier and it helps me work better.
3. Don't do everything on your to do list
A big moment came in my life about 5 years ago. I used to regularly write To Do lists for each day. I never managed to get to the bottom of the list. If there was 10 things to to I'd manage 7. But then I realised that was OK. Not everything gets done. That's life. And that was one of the most liberating experiences of my working life.
Now I write a To Do list with the most important at the top (note NOT the most urgent). They get done first. And if the stuff and the bottom doesn't get done. It doesn't get carried over. It doesn't get done. You soon find yourself putting all the silly 'nice to have' things in the bottom bit and that's like therapy, getting them all out of your head. But then you find yourself writing shorter and shorter to do lists. Which is kind of the goal.
4. Ask for help
Don't struggle away on your own. Someone in your organisation probably has the time to help. Know what your good at and what you can do well and efficiently and then delegate the rest away. If you're consistently snowed under maybe your organisation will employ someone to take the pressure off. Seriously. Ask.
5. Little and often
If I haven't done the work, I can't pull an all nighter (see above) and churn out loads of stuff. That doesn't work for me. I have to do a little and often. Little bits of projects, sketches, notes, bits on delicious, right from day one. Then before you know it the project has done itself.
And that's enough from me. Time for bed.