We took some time. Now it’s ours forever.

By Michael Mark, creative director/ceo @NYCA 

In the middle of this recession, in the middle of being too busy launching two global websites, in the middle of strategic planning for three full-out 2010 media campaigns, in the middle of applying all we learned from our research, and Tweeting, Facebooking, IMing and blogging, we stopped. And painted vases. 

We did what seems impossible these days – we took some time.  

Time is a gift often seen as a foe: we race the clock, we are up against a deadline, we push the meeting, we run behind.  And the way we try to compete is by splitting ourselves up into pieces, to do more tasks in the same second. 

How often have we said we need to clone ourselves?  And in the attempt we become fractured.  We say that media is fractured, but it’s not true. There are just more complete communication channels each going on simultaneously, multiplying by the instant it seems.  However there’s only one of us. And it is us — our attention, actually — being shattered into pieces. Tough to be centered and focused in such a state. 

That’s why yesterday some of us took time and danced in the middle of the corridor by the creative area.

Dancing 

 

In this week’s “New York” magazine article, In Defense of Distraction http://nymag.com/news/features/56793/,  author Sam Anderson interviewed David Meyer, an expert on multitasking & cognition.

 In Defense of Distraction

distraction

 

 
Illustration by Glen Cummings/MTWTF  

He describes distraction “as a full-blown epidemic—a cognitive plague that has the potential to wipe out an entire generation of focused and productive thought.” Because of the way we use the ever-multiplying communication channels, he says, it is tough to get things done, adding “..even ten years ago…it was a lot calmer. There was a lot of opportunity for getting steady work done.”

True.  And we have proof.  In NYCA’s production area there’s an LED clockthat stares, red-eyed, at everyone passing, as it winds down from the moment the client approves the brief to when we have to have the work out there. Heartlessly, it heads to 0:0:0:0:0 from month to week to day to hour to minute to the final second. It started as a joke. It became a nervous-laugh producing – and, some say, an effective — monster. Every time we walked by, we were reminded we had to do three other things by this time.  Clock_Nina 004

And while it blinked away precious seconds, we painted away in Fargo – one of our conference rooms between the NY and CA rooms. We casually dipped into each other’s color wells, sharing brushes, and stories and time.  

 Here’s what we got out of the time we took: 

We got to create in a new way.

We got to catch up with ourselves and others.

We got to start again on projects with new energy (ok, perhaps fueled by anxiety of losing 40 minutes).

We got 40 minutes that we will always own.

We got something new to tweet, IM, blog, talk about.

We got vases that will sit on our desks and hold flowers that are given out twice a month as a thank you for being an NYCAer.

vase_0017

Oh, and Sandy in admin sent out an email later in the day telling everyone how to mark that vase painting time on our time management program. So all in the world is at peace — or at least accounted for. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Now go back to work.

One Response to We took some time. Now it’s ours forever.

  1. Absolutely LOVE this. And absolutely loved painting vases with everyone. So cool to see the creativity in EVERYONE at NYCA. OK, Ill get back to work now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: