A Reminder to Unplug

Even When Life Moves at Lightspeed

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
I'm launching my radio/audio-branding creative website. The advertising class I teach is in the final few weeks. I am in the throes of branding work for two clients. Ten radio spots are in the queue. I am going to New York for the Radio Mercury Awards after a few days working on a campaign in Idaho.

This is just the next two weeks.

When I decided to go out on my own back in February, I knew that it was going to be equal parts exciting and exhausting with a nice dash of frustration. Each week seems to get more and more crazy. But, as a colleague mentioned to me last week, "Dude, this is what you signed up for. Get used to it."

It's human nature (or mine at any rate) to get highly overworked and then highly frustrated. So I had to remind myself to unplug a little.

I just began working with a new client, Tamarack Resort, two hours north of Boise, Idaho. Fish Marketing, the agency in Portland that has the account, decided that it would be smart for me to go up there for a few days to soak it all in.

Tamarack, for lack of a better term, is an absolutely remarkable place. It is a secluded hamlet that will probably end up being the next Aspen. Still, my natural inclination was to "over soak" and try to force the creative, then go a thousand miles an hour on the tactical part of the radio campaign. Yes, despite my surroundings, I was prepared to work in a mental vacuum, complete with the trappings of overwrought clichés and forced, tired creative.

Then, something fantastic happened. I looked around. I was actually relaxed and open to accepting the environment around me -- you know, the environment that will ultimately serve as the basis for this part of the campaign. Nary a cliché was to be found. Hackneyed phrases and empty promises left the back of my mind. My mind was open because I literally took one minute to actually let go.

This epiphany reminded me that I need to reread Joe Robinson's outstanding "Work to Live." (For more information, check out the website.) During a rather tumultuous time in my radio career, I stumbled on to this book and it was a revelation. For about two weeks. Then, I found myself back in the same routine of stress and aggravation. But I would return to the book every so often to try to strike the right work/life balance, and it seemed to be a rather potent antidote for the rigors of this career. Stupidly, I gave the book to a colleague, never to see it again. Suffice to say, another copy is on the way from Amazon.

"Work to Live" should be on EVERY manager's list. It should be part of best practices in every company. Hell, if my company gets to the point where I actually have to hire a staff, the first thing I will demand is that every employee starts with six weeks of vacation.

I realize this "letting go" thing is easier said than done. I also know that it may be perceived as somewhat New Age-y. But give it a chance. Even if you pick just one thing out of the book that can help, it is money very well spent.

Quick Hits

Are you burned out? How do you recharge?

What changes have you made in the past year that helps alleviate some of your work stress?

How do you define work/life balance?
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