If we only had the time to spend on the creative process, surely the work would be better, right? We’d get better results, if we could calm the chaos a bit.  THEN our big ideas can come through.

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that chaos is just the name of the advertising/marketing game. I mean have you ever met someone in the industry who says they’re NOT overworked and overwhelmed?

So how do we embrace the chaos and still put out meaningful, effective creative? 

Find a creative cohort

And I’m not talking about Greg from Accounting who sent you an article on why TikTok is THE way to reach Gen Z. Co-workers love to think they have marketing ideas – heck everyone experiences marketing and advertising. But when it comes to strategies and concepts to meet your business goals and target audience, look for a creative cohort within, or close to, the marketing industry. They get the system, the process, the tactics, the jargon. And having a creative collaborator pushes your ideas while providing a safe space. 

So where can you find a creative cohort?  

  • Social networks
    • Twitter (#marketingtwitter = completely awesome)
    • Slack
    • Reddit
    • LinkedIn
    • MeetUp
  • Professional organizations
    Believe it or not, I met my best friend at an Ad Fed meeting! We’ve been creative cohorts for 15 years! And since she and I are sometimes a little too close to the process, I often pair up with other people I’ve met through Ad Fed. Professional organizations really are a great way to find a community, a tiny circle, however many people you want/need, to boost your creative confidence.
  • Freelancers
    Freelancers can be much more than just a hired gun for graphics, videos, ghostwriting, etc. Ask your favorite to come in on a project earlier so you can share the idea generation part of it! 

Aim for clear communication

Sure, we’d love for each project to be brilliant and successful, but in real life, we have way too many items competing for our time & mental energy. So let’s aim for having a clear message and communicating it well to the reader/viewer. It doesn’t need to go viral. It doesn’t need to win awards. It doesn’t need to be portfolio-worthy. What it needs to do is get the job done. Connect with your target audience. Spread awareness of your brand. Promote your product. So let’s not wallow in our perfectionism, but instead get. it. out there.


Definitely not the sexiest approach, but if you’re short on time and mental capacity, go back in your archives and pull out a previous project. Tweak it so it feels fresh, make sure it reflects current product & brand parameters, then let it fly. Most people can’t remember what they had for breakfast a week ago, much less what ad some company ran last year. And if it worked well, your audience will get a bit of nostalgia pop up!

Schedule time

OK, so this one is less realistic, but so very practical. You’ve got to MAKE time to sit in the process. Schedule it. On your calendar. It will be hard to keep that appointment with yourself. You’ll want to push it aside when someone wants a meeting at that time. You’ll have fires pop up that you don’t want burning down the whole house. But please, do what you can, when you can, to make time for being creative. John Cleese, (actor, writer, director) wants us to carve out 90 uninterrupted minutes to sit with our thoughts, in an open and playful mode, creating a time and space for well, creating. He acknowledges quite a bit of that time will be getting those thoughts racing around in our heads to be quiet, but once that happens we’ll have brain space to make new connections and ideas!