From Slow to “Go!”: How to Handle the Peaks and Valleys of Agency Work

It’s no big secret that agency work can be unpredictable—some months you’re running around like a chicken sans head, and others you are doing your best to hit your billable targets. I’m sure if you polled agency employees, they would all agree, it’s better to be busy than bored. 

But how do you survive your day, when you have no idea what that day might include? Here are a few tips I’ve compiled with the help of Regan Lal, to get you through the insanity that can be any day in an agency. 

1. Stay on top of your emails

You never know when a client or your boss is going to email and say “We need this ASAP”. If you’re reading your emails (yes, even on a Sunday) at least you will know not to have that extra glass of wine, and head home to rest-up. 

2. Be flexible

One of the toughest things about being a PR professional is accepting that business doesn’t always run on a 9-5 schedule. Yes, you may miss the 5:50pm showing of The Avengers, but if your boss is nice, you may make the 9:45pm showing, next week.

3. Know your deadlines

Not all deadlines are equal—some are self-imposed, some are client-imposed, some are boss-imposed. Work with them to manage and shuffle your project work to accommodate all deadlines. 

4. Focus! 

I can’t lie, working in an agency for as long as I have has fractured my attention span. Sometimes, on hectic days, I have to stop myself from checking to see what’s happening online. If it’s really important, someone will tell you. 

5. Breathe

Yes, it’s an automatic response from our bodies (and thankfully so) but sometimes the best thing you can do on a crazy day is take a step back and breathe. A quick walk around the block, or a few flights of stairs can give you the chance to refresh your mind, without eating up too much time. And just remember, the work will get done, because it has to. There’s no option on that. 

Do you have any tips for surviving the craziness that can be working at an agency?

— Iris