Home » Oh, That’s Good: Give Me (and Yourself) a Break


Oh, That’s Good: Give Me (and Yourself) a Break

by | Jun 3, 2019

By Matt Smith

Summer is fast upon us, and you might have noticed that over the past two weeks I haven’t written a column about the good work in our region.

Or maybe you didn’t.  Either way, I haven’t posted a column since May 13 because I decided to take a spontaneous break in conjunction with the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  The break was incredibly valuable for many reasons, and that’s what I want to talk about this week rather than focusing the column on good work, as I usually do.

Prior to my brief sabbatical, my work at SmithGifford had been full throttle and pretty much nonstop.  Anyone who has worked at an agency knows the drill.  Nights and weekends, always putting work first, not spending enough time at home with family. Pushing the envelope as far as you can to get the work done, reworking it again and again to make it as great as you possibly can, keeping the clients happy.  Bottom line: exhaustion for you and your team.

So I took a pause because I’ve discovered that all work and no play can sometimes actually have a reverse effect—it can make the work suffer if you don’t slow down a little and focus your attention on your life outside the business.

And that’s what I did.  I made myself and my family the focus of my time and efforts and regained an element of balance in my life, and I found that the respite provided additional benefits.  Perhaps more than anything, it reminded me of the importance of trusting your teammates to get the job done without you for a while.  The clear message is that the team is far stronger and better than any single individual, just like your family as a whole is better than any single member.

So this summer, if you want to make great work happen, take some time off. And I mean real time off. Not just a long weekend, but more like two weeks minimum. I figure it takes one week to forget your workaday battle rhythm, and one more week before you start to get bored.  Then you’re ready to go back to work, because time to think, is time well spent.

And by the way, in that spirit, I have a little news to announce about this column.  Effective immediately, my “Oh, That’s Good” column is cutting back to twice a month instead of weekly.  Not because there’s not enough good work to write about, but rather because I want the columns to have a bit more nuance and insight, and I’ve found that delivering those attributes takes time. So I’ll be back June 17 and every other week afterward.

As always, comments, great thoughts and constructive criticism is welcome.

Matt Smith is founder of SmithGifford, and has close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies. SmithGifford is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

You can find Matt Smith’s earlier columns at Oh, That’s Good.

About the Author

Matt Smith

Matt Smith is the Founder of Smith Gifford, with close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies. He's won literally every award out there, Cannes, Clios, One Show Gold, Silver and Bronze, ADDYs, ADDYs and more ADDYs, and even Pillar of the Community and Best Places to work twice. A fourth generation Washingtonian, he can't spell or understand grammar, having spent the first 10 years of his life in schools in France and Germany. Even though "Learning three languages before age 10 messed me up bad," Matt has written a hugely successful website called WoodyBoater for the past 13 years, for which he was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

1 Comment

  1. Andrea Fuller

    Love this column. Thanks for doing it. Now, I am going to take a break….


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