Occasionally I get asked how I have time to write a blog, a book and whatever ads need doing on a particular day.
The short answer is that I just get up and, at some point, do them all. I also read two or three newspapers, change nappies, have three meals, watch a movie, chat, email, play some Scrabble on Facebook, stare out of the window, Tweet, read other blogs, waste time on The Superficial and Hot Chicks With Douchebags, watch a TED lecture, play half an hour of Bejewelled 2 on the iPhone, get dressed, have a shower, enjoy five or six trips to the lav, buy some food, watch The Daily Show, read Rolling Stone/Private Eye/Q, listen to some Led Zeppelin, play with my son, put him to bed, pretend to talk to my daughter just to stop her crying in my face, read some of a book, comment on a few blogs and, well…a whole bunch of other things.
Maybe I am a little more constructive with my time then some people, but I still manage to fit plenty of wastage into an average day. Plenty.
But then I do a few things that produce a visible result. This blog is a daily (weekdaily, that is) demonstration of how I use my time. It probably doesn’t take as long as you think, but then I’ve written about 1500 posts in the last four years so the practice has made the process quicker and easier. Same with writing ads: they don’t take as long as they used to and the results are (I hope) better. The book writing takes as long as it takes, but if I didn’t have one that was about to be published it might appear that I was wasting my time noodling around with that.
I have a theory that if everyone applied themselves, and circumstances allowed, we could probably all do our day’s work in about three hours. However, things always seem to get in the way. Those things may be helpful little spongey things, like finding YouTube videos to be inspired by (nick) that make the three hours easier, but usually they’ll just be time wasting bollocks.
There are six billion people and rising in an increasingly automated world. They can’t possibly all have enough proper constructive work to fill a day (or eight hours). So we have lots of jobs that aren’t strictly necessary and therefore involve time-wasting. For example, if you have a planner at your agency who takes a month to go back and forth with a client and come up with a strategy that a monkey could have thought up in ten seconds, then that’s time wasted right there: both client and planner are doing something unnecessary for their money. Ditto creatives who have to do all the cannon fodder that gets shot down by a client who has to see 3/4/5/6/7/8/9 routes before he can dither about for a few days picking the one least likely to get him fired. Ditto CDs who now have to go to dozens of client meetings because the account handlers are shit at their jobs. The same with editors who have to produce another cut because of some shitbrained and unnecessary changes that the client’s wife just thought of. Then there’s account handlers who have to go back to the client for the eighth time because of some CHRISTING FUCKING INSANITY THAT COULD BE AVOIDED IF ONLY THE PEOPLE CONCERNED HAD EVEN A THIRD OF A FUCKING BRAIN CELL AND A LITTLE MORE COURAGE THAN A MOUSE THAT’S ABOUT TO BE SPLAYED OPEN AND ELECTROCUTED IN A COSMETICS LAB.
Anyway, the bottom line is that too much time is wasted in stupidity, inconsistency, fear, arse-covering and just plain old ‘being a cunt’. If you can avoid as much of that as possible you could find the time to write a blog, play with your kids or watch a box set of Deadwood. Or, if you run an agency and decided to remove all the wastage, you could probably manage with half the staff.
But then there’s be more unemployed.
So maybe agencies are just benevolent work homes that keep the jobless figures down and potential alcoholics off the streets.