5 Ways to Stay Sane in An Advertising Agency

It is no secret that the advertising industry is a fast paced and stressful industry. While short deadlines and high pressure situations are a part of the gig, I’ve picked up a few habits over the past couple decades that help me keep my cool in a volatile and unpredictable environment.

1. Stop and Stretch

Stretching helps more than flexibility and posture, it clears my head and forces me to stop what I’m doing. Stopping what you are doing periodically throughout the day will make you more efficient and will help reboot your brain. If you are in the groove, keep on going, but if you are in a rut, raise your arms up, touch your toes and go for a walk. It may seem counterintuitive if you are crazy busy, but it makes a huge difference.

2. Breathe like a baby.

Out of all my life hacks, this is the one I do the most. I’m sure I heard this from a wise yoga wizard atop a fog covered mountain, but it always helps. This is what I do:

  • Take 3 breaths:
    • Inhale and expand your tummy so you have a beer belly [a baby beer belly]
    • Controlled, in through your nose, out through your nose
    • When you exhale feel your muscles and mind go clear
    • Combine this with #1 and you might levitate or become a Jedi

3. Isolate Yourself With Music

Everyone needs some ‘me’ time and during the work day is no exception. I would explain this the same as a sound machine for people that can’t sleep. Music seems to fill mind gaps and smooths out my train of thought. Slap some headphones on, stream to your latest wireless speaker or close your door and blast some tunes. There’s something about music that helps me focus and keeps me positive. Depending on the task, it’s almost harder to concentrate when it’s too quiet. You could be in a crowded room, coffee shop or high-stress situation and the music will give you some much needed solitude.

4. Empathize

Empathy will set you free. When talking with clients, employees, colleagues and vendors, I always try to understand where they are coming from. If you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you have accomplished the most important part of being human. Having an understanding of someone else’s point of view helps you. Let me repeat that one more time. It helps YOU. Empathy is not just about the other person, it’s about making a connection to help you move forward, understand, or take the next step.

5. Look At All of Your Options

Feel like you’ve lost hope on that big project or that you have hit a creative wall? You’re not stuck, there are always options. Take a step back, look around, where can you go? Find a path that will move you forward. It doesn’t matter what situation you are in, there’s always more than one option. If a client comes to us with a tight deadline, I choose to find a solution and handle the task at hand. I see no reason to react with emotions that impede my decisions. Granted, there are going to be situations where that is just not possible and goes against human nature, but for all intents and purposes, in a creative environment, this is the case.

Next time you find yourself facing a difficult task, take a step back and try one of these tips to calm you down and allow you to handle the problem at hand. Do you have any other good habits that help you navigate your daily path? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @thejamesagency!


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Veronique James


Veronique founded The James Agency (TJA) in 2005 with the goal of creating an agency focused on open communication and transparency with clients and employees. Today, the award-winning, integrated agency specializes in consumer advertising, public relations and digital and continues to exemplify Veronique’s original vision.

Veronique and her team collaborate to produce creatively-fueled, results-driven campaigns that help clients achieve their goals and positively impact their bottom line. Under Veronique’s direction, TJA has been honored with numerous industry and culture awards, including being named to the Inc. 5000 and Entrepreneur Top Company Cultures lists.

Actively involved in the community, Veronique is currently a member of Entrepreneur’s Organization, Arizona Chapter. She served as the organization’s third female president in 2017/2018. She has received numerous accolades for her leadership, entrepreneurship and community involvement.

Veronique is originally from Southern California and graduated with a BFA in Visual Communication from the University of Arizona.

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