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BW Businessworld

It’s About Time

Time is the currency available to all. The way each of us spends it usually separates successful achievers from the ordinary

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It is said that “Time and tide wait for none”. True. But how many of us handle the wait for time?

Time is the currency available to all. The way each of us spends it usually separates successful achievers from the ordinary.

Zooming in on the interaction of time in the creative process, it is interesting how styles differ in the graphical trajectory of time vs output. As an agency head and strategic planner, one has had the opportunity of working with many creative directors of substance.

Standing tall on that list was an English gentleman called Rick Lane, a quiet, unassuming, highly focused creative (copy) genius who would digest the brief, withdraw into his creative zone and immediately concentrate on the challenge without wasting a moment. Rick would usually not take more than two days to crack a campaign-able idea, and then he’d be good and ready to work on the next.

Rick would not accept more than one brief at a time to work on. But I knew with him around, meeting deadlines wasn’t a problem. And Rick would always finish his day by 6 p.m. and return home to his wife for a pleasant evening together, before arriving in office the next morning, fresh as a daisy.  

In the agency business, alas, the Ricks of the world are a rare commodity. Time would ostensibly play second fiddle to the need for that big idea which most agency minds aspire to create. And so, the creative process would stress and strain (and s-t-r-e-t-c-h) to utilise time to the maximum to enable that Eureka moment to happen.

Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available for its completion) would apply on all assignments on the agency’s table. This usually results in a late trajectory of progress on most creative projects, and invariably causes the burning of the proverbial midnight oil.

Rick’s FIFO (first-in-first-out) principle gets overridden by the ‘Just-in-Time’ frenzy of meeting deadlines. And therein occurs the melee… the juggling of the shorter timelines set by a more demanding client vis-à-vis the late start of an agency team in communicating the brief or cooking the idea.

Which reminds me of the award-winning campaign we had mounted for Delhi Traffic Police two decades ago: ‘Relax at the Red Light’. We figured that Delhi’s motorists would infringe traffic crossing rules because of indiscipline; they start out late for destinations, and muscle their way through, breaking rules.

The words ‘RELAX’ pasted on red lights at important junctions served to remind them that they needed to act in their own self-interest and take a break from the hurly-burly of life. At a few zebra crossings, as areward to those who had stopped, cold water bottles were distributed, or a flash mob provided entertainment.

And so, at the traffic jams of life and work, a bit of planning goes a long way. I love seeing a dinner party start punctually at 8 p.m., having dinner served early, getting children to school well on time, starting meetings promptly, receiving email replies within 24 hours. Yeh time time ki baat hai!

Life deserves quality time… to relax and enjoy the journey.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 14 October 2017

Indranil Gupta

The author is Founder Director & Chief Executive Officer of BrandNEW Associates Private Limited

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