In my nearly 20 years working in the communications field, the methods and means of communication have become far faster and more abundant that I could have ever imagined. Finding the time to read and surf and tweet and get through email is like finding your way through a maze that often leads, as mazes tend to, back to the beginning.
Just last week, one of my clients, who is a top creative thinker, told me he sets very strict guidelines for when he can and cannot engage in communicating through social networking, rationing himself a 2-hour block every Sunday for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. As he rightly pointed out, his clients expect him to deliver breakthrough ideas and without uninterrupted time he simply cannot provide that service.
Back in the day, public relations people had to react quickly, but also had time to figure out how to handle situations, mull over crafting statements and really spend time developing ideas that could help transform brands and reposition products. Don’t get me wrong – we still do that and, I would say, do it better than ever. But the pace of feeding the monster – Twitter, Facebook, e-mails, Blackberries, Outlook, cell phone and video conferencing – requires that you do not forget that it is the message that matters most, whether it relates to problem solving, new creative, or story-line development.
Add into the mix our personal responsibilities – I’m a working mom with two young children – and the importance of finding that creative time becomes even more important. In these over-scheduled times, the picking and sticking to dedicated time allotments, whether for creativity or just a play date, has become an art form.
So here’s my formula. I schedule my creative time while I am exercising; for most working parents, exercise is the first thing to go when the children arrive. It is the wrong activity to drop because what it contains can replenish the other aspects of life through tremendous energy and the strength and power to overcome difficulties.
Exercise clears the head, helps you problem-solve and brings things quickly into perspective. My most creative ideas are born when I am swimming laps in the pool as I mull issues that have stumped me during working hours.
For me, exercise is like the message referenced above. In this age of super-news and multiple communications channels, the medium may often seem like the message – but that only goes so far. Whether you are using social media or just rapid fire e-mail, what you have to say, I would argue, is still more important than how you say it. Your message, or story, is critical to your success. You need the time to find it, massage it, and prepare it for its journey into and through the marketplace.
It’s not an issue of eschewing modern communication and regressing to the seemingly simpler times of our parents’ generation. But it is about prioritizing and creating special times and moments that are driven more by goals and thought than by the media frenzy.
I would encourage anyone trying to manage multiple tasks while trying to staying focused and creative to try fitting exercise into their lives. You will be amazed how clear the message becomes and how the ideas begin to flow once your heart rate increases. One never know what ideas you might return with that help your clients break through the clutter.
Posted by :Liz Anklow, Executive Vice President