The 14-year experiment that became Done By Friday.
I'll bet some of you out there reading this blog are wondering: Who is Claire Friday and why is she qualified to tell me how to improve my career?
Good question! I've written two other blog entries so far, and I'm going to take a step back for a few minutes to tell you why I'm qualified to write about my experiences and expertise. (If you want to read on, great!)
First of all, let me tell you about the 14-year experiment that became Done By Friday and why it has proven successful.
The event and entertainment world that I work in can be a very tiring business, but it can also be very rewarding. I've been privileged enough to work in a variety of entertainment avenues with some incredibly talented and high-profile people. I learn from each of those individuals on a daily basis.
I started my career running errands and making coffee for television producers in Los Angeles. (Hey, we all gotta start somewhere. I tell ya, I make a mean pot of coffee.) From there, I transitioned into opera and theatrical stage management (see video at the end of this blog), and then eventually production management, logistics, and event producing. Now, I consider myself a producer of many aspects of live entertainment. I will translate this industry jargon in the next blog entry. I have some good descriptions for these roles and many of you who work in the live events and entertainment industry might appreciate them.
Anyhoo, back to the topic at hand.
After many lessons, blood, sweat, and tears (literally), I can look back over the years and see everything I've done and the places I've been. There is much more to accomplish.
Still scratching your heads wondering just what I do? Well, the world of event and entertainment production sort of boils down to mastering the following daily skill set:
Project management - deadlines all the time!
Time management - literally by the hour and sometimes by the minute.
People management - including the difficult ones.
Team management - oh yes, production is a sport, my friends.
Organization - everything in its place, including your good daily distractions!
Effective communication - yes, that's a tough one.
I'll bet you have to deal with the above as well! See, we do have parallels in our work universes.
To many of us, the above topics can be intimidating. I used to let them get to me, but I don't any longer. They are skills YOU can master. That's why I created Done By Friday and why I decided to start this blog.
The process of becoming a specialist at productivity, organization, and project management took me 14 years to wrap my head around... and I'm still learning. Mastering any skill or skill-set in life takes practice and a consistency in effort. It also takes discipline and a realistic view of goals and goal-setting. I wanted to understand how to work hard and also enjoy life. There were too many people who I watched over and over in my career who were stressed all the time, barely saw their families; and frankly worked hard just to work hard or look like they worked hard, but with no intent. And they made a ton of mistakes and didn't treat their staff well.
I made mistakes too, but didn't want to be that person. I wanted to work hard, be good at what I did, but also enjoy the one life that I have on this earth.
Let me share a brief story with you:
About a year and a half ago, I was on the verge of career burnout. I saw the writing on the wall. I had been traveling on planes every week managing events in city after city. Sure, the experiences were priceless, but my mind and my body weren't having it. One foggy evening in San Francisco, I went back to my hotel room after having worked a 16-hour day and plopped down on my bed with my head in my hands. How I could still be awesome at what I did, enjoy what I do, and still enjoy my life? (Don't we all feel that way?) It was on that plane ride home to Los Angeles that I came up with Done By Friday.
I took my airline drink napkin and wrote down a few simple phrases that eventually lead me to concept Done By Friday:
I want to be the person people want to work with and for.
There should be more opportunities to enjoy my personal time.
Working should be fun, and I'm going to make it fun.
In the weeks that followed, I took a step back and chose to set my boundaries, my limits, and my time. I began to own my workweek. It was mine. No one else's. Sure, I had bosses, supervisors, and lead producers who I reported to on certain projects, but I began to meticulously manage myself instead of having someone else do it for me. That's the message of Done By Friday. You are the one in control of your workweek. Whether you're a full-time employee, freelancer, stay-at-home mom, or business owner, your productivity level and the boundaries you set are yours.
I've managed to apply the rules to my own life and I feel more accomplished than ever before. Done By Friday is a movement. You can be awesome at what you do, enjoy what you do, and still have your personal time on your weekends. The only sacrifices are the ones that hold you back from being accomplished.
After sitting in management class after management class, seminar after seminar on 'being productive', and being forced to memorize the personality traits of others, it was all too much. I took a little bit of everything and applied it to the way I worked with some practicality thrown in. That's what makes me different than anyone else. I hope you'll see that too.
Want to see my experience? Go to clairefriday.com for more details and to contact me directly. I would love to hear from you!
If you want to know more about my background, here's an interview I did for a local channel in San Diego when I was a stage manager at the San Diego Opera in 2010. Enjoy!