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I ’ve been obsessing over time lately. Often on the very large, stoner-esque panic inducing, universal expansion of it to the very small day-to-day minutes and seconds we all get to share here on Earth. Now that I’m well out of my 20’s my perspective has changed dramatically on how I spend my time and make damn sure I’m not wasting any of it, or at least trying not to.

With a mountain of responsibilities facing me daily with my family, keeping up my household, maintaining Forefathers, and a couple of hobbies for good measure at the end of the day there just isn’t any extra time to go around. After all, it truly is one of our only ‘REAL’ currencies in life. Let’s be honest, let’s say you had 2 days left to live on the planet but you had to purchase 1 of them with every cent you ever had or earned. You would pay up no questions asked.

But over the past couple of years I’ve noticed more and more increments of personal time being opened up despite the huge to do list above that is much bigger than myself. And it’s all because of one thing. Avoiding Time Vampires.

The Story

So what’s a Time Vampire? Oh, you already know and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Anything or anyone feasting on your precious life minutes like a vampire to blood. As a company we have been in the clutches of the Time Vampire without realizing it before it was too late. And it’s so easy to get caught up in them.

Just recently we were contacted about an extremely exciting potential project. I’m not talking just your run of the mill, fill the gaps type of project. This was a project that would have been one of those legendary portfolio piece, dream projects. Brand conceptualizing, full identity system, package designs, full website. Pretty much everything we offer was on the table.

Not to mention the initial relationship we had developed with the client right off the bat was exceptional and we completely clicked. We did everything right with them, we had our questionnaires ready, engaged in excitable and friendly initial video conferences, and to top it off spent about half of a work day collectively putting together the perfect proposal for the project. Except we left out one thing. We didn’t ask what their budget was for the project and we were never told what it was.

We did the worst thing you can possibly do as a company and the quickest way to land in the clutches of a Time Vampire. We Assumed. We had just made a costly mistake.

From there you can already guess what happened. We made the pitch and they came back to us stating the quote was not going to work with their budget and we needed to hop back on a call. So we did, again more time being spent now, still with those big bright stars in our eyes of that dream project. Only to be given the “Let’s make this work” speech that all of us hear at one point in our career. And let’s be honest. Those words just really mean ‘Lower your price and give us the work you just pitched because we love you and you are still excited right?!’.

You see that? They pulled you in and they already have their fangs in deep, feasting on your time trying to get you to devalue more of it and subsequently the work you put out. This is what the Time Vampire does. It draws you in, drains your energy, assets, and worst of all takes time away from things that you Could and Should be doing rather than maneuvering ways to keep them happy and in your life. That’s really what ‘Make It Work’ means. Devalue until it’s doable.

You have to say ‘No’.

Recognize and Back Away Swiftly

This all sounds familiar doesn’t it? Of course it does. Because we all have had at least one or two of these in our lives at one time. Sometimes even way more than that. But just like all problems in life the first step to getting out of them is Acceptance. It’s time for you as a designer or freelancer to accept what your Time Vampire is and it’s time to stop them. It’s doing you no good and it’s robbing you. It’s time to back away swiftly.

Is it a client? A terrible job that’s going nowhere? A bad relationship? Internet drama? It doesn’t matter because it’s robbing you. It’s time to recognize and accept it then find your escape route as quickly as possible. Stand up confidently and say ‘NO’. Saying the ’NO’ will quickly become your best ally in finding and defeating your Time Vampire. It’s really one of the best things you can do for your career. The Vampires will only continue to feast on your precious time, but only if you continue to let them.

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