Romanticising Crunch Time

One thing that I’ve learned a lot about over the years is crunch time. The night before a pitch or an important creative presentation is rarely an easy one.

Work will expand to fill the time allotted. It’s called Parkinson’s Law. I’m not a mathematician, so I can’t prove that it is the natural order of the universe, but I think we can all agree that it should be considered one of the fundamental laws of physics.

At an agency, crunch time usually means late nights and some early mornings.

Early is relative, by the way.

There will be pizza and snacks and tightly-wound bundles of nerves.

Crunch time gets a bad rap. It feels high pressure, people are tired, spouses are irritated, weekends are lost.

But this is when a lot of good work is done.

Priorities become immediately clear and everything else falls to the wayside.

Decisions have to be made.

Difficult problems are wrestled to the ground.

Arbitrary ideas have to be pulled out of the air and fitted with cement shoes.

Differences of opinion have to be forded and compromises have to be made.

There’s no time to dance around the details or wait for someone else to come around to your way of thinking.

This is when the magic, as they say, happens.

I’m not arguing that all work should be left until the night before.

That work will almost always suck.

Crunch time works best when the work is 90% done, but another 90% of it still needs to be done.

The focus and intensity that a group can bring to their work at the very last minute can be powerful. It’s like pissing-off the Hulk and pointing him towards something that you need smashed.

Is that a good metaphor? I don’t read comics.

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