Dylan Taylor is the founder and creative partner at The Dylan Agency, launched in 2012 as an agile agency with a goal to secure 8 clients with no pitches.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Advertising has been an interesting career. I started out as the youngest at Yellowhammer in London in the late 1980s and am now the oldest in my own agency.
From London, I went to Dubai as it began to first take off, then moved to Bahrain. And on a Christmas Holiday in Sydney, landed the only copywriting job in Australia.
Since then, I have worked with some truly amazing people. Having been at Clemenger, M&C Saatchi and BMF. However, whilst awards, agency of the years, an agency of the decade award, as well as personal acknowledgements were great at the time – life keeps moving and perspective changes.
You can’t get time back. So, it pays to treat it as your most precious commodity. That’s why we started The Dylan Agency eight years ago: lean, agile, and time-aware.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
There are certain things that are fixed in a working day and a lot that is variable.
Fixed: 5:45am. Get up. Drive to a friend’s outdoor gym. 6:00am. Arrive. Train for 45 mins. 7:15am. Home. Walk the dog to the coffee shop. Home. Feed the dog. 7:50am. Shower.1:00pm lunch. 10:30pm bed.
Variable: Throughout the day, there could be new briefs, Zooms with clients, doing work, reviewing work, talking to others we work with. Now there is less travel, more time is filled with work. But there is still time to spend with my wonderful family. And to read the odd book or three.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes. Even before the wrecking ball that is COVID-19 demolished commuting and daily routines, people in the agency have worked wherever, whenever. I’ve never believed presentism is a reflection on output. We work in a project-orientated world.
As long as you can fulfil projects on-time, on-budget and to a high standard, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the Amalfi Coast, in an office in Sydney or sitting at home.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
You have to stop. Work since the Blackberry has bled relentlessly into people’s lives.
But to what end?
There’s always another email to send, contact to make, person to chase up, but wouldn’t you rather have dinner with your family? Escape with some Nordic Noir? Or learn something new, such as the first dictionary, published in 1604, was called Hard Words?
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
When you say the past 12 months, it’s really since March that the impact has been life-changing. So, a lot has stopped. No commute to the office. No meetings in the office. No trips overseas. No client external meetings. No going to the gym. No trip to Europe.
The benefits: More dog walking. More time with family.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
For writers, The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester is an extraordinary account of how a murder led to the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The serendipitous nature (and it reveals the origin of that word) of unconnected events changed the course of history and, more than likely led to the universality of the English language.
For visual inspiration, Muzli by InVision serves up everything you need. It’s easy to get lost for a couple of hours on that website.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
MacBook Pro. iPhone. Dog lead. Grammarly.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, talks of his grappling to find calm and meaning in Meditations. He certain articulated a great number of thoughts to live by:
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I have read somewhere ‘we are what we eat, who we meet and what we do.’ So, the power of habit or routine goes some way to determining our state of body and mind. Have a positive, balanced routine to life, and with a little luck, everything will work out fine.
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