10/19/2008: "Do Your Work Habits Make You Happy or Cause You Stress?"
Everyone has a unique way of working. There's no one way that's right and another way that's wrong. To be sure, there are working habits that are more productive than others, however.
For example, I don't multitask when I'm on a project. I concentrate on nothing but my project until it's done. Moreover, I work very quickly. If I were to get paid by the hour, I'd lose money.
I start before dawn and accomplish more by 11:00 in the morning than many people do in two days. Then I do a fast, efficient workout to relieve any stress I have and to help my aging muscles continue to function and get me through this tough business of living.
My partner, on the other hand, does ten things at a time and takes two months to get an assignment to the client. When I tell him I must have the copy, he says he'll have it in a few days. Of course, he doesn't.
Well, he causes me much distress. I can't stand not meeting deadlines and not getting on a job and getting it done. He's totally the opposite. He's still doing his taxes for 2007! I have mine ready for the accountant on New Year's Day.
Now, my partner is good at what he does. But his work habits drive me mad. Do I think mine are superior? Frankly, yes. But if his way works for him, that's all that matters. (He's beginning to wonder if they really do work for him.)
You, like all of us, are not apt to change your habits. Habits are your comfort zone. If I waited until April 14 to get my tax stuff ready for my accountant, I'd have a major panic attack and would have to take a bottle of Valium.
You may be totally comfortable waiting until April 15 to get your stuff together. I guess neither way is superior as long as the job gets done. But we each need to do this, and all tasks, in ways that are comfortable and rewarding to us.
Notice I use the word "rewarding." Do your work habits reward you or cause you distress? If they do the former, you're doing fine. If they do the latter, you need to change.
If you're not meeting deadlines, if you're feeling stressed, if people are unhappy with your work and if things are generally just not working well for you, you may need to think about adopting more effective work habits.
The life of a copywriter is stressful. Few people know how hard we really do work and how much time we spend studying and reading and using our mere mortal brains to come up with fresh, compelling ideas.
So our work habits are crucial to our business as well as to our well-being.
Take a look at your work habits. How do they make you feel? What sort of work results from those habits? If your answer is a happy one --- congratulations! If not, consider what you might do to make your work life more comfortable and efficient.
Your work should be fun. Good habits make it much more enjoyable.