A Day in the Life: Raymond McKay
What time do you wake up?
I’m usually woken up at around 6:30am by either my two or four-year-old.
What’s the ideal way to start your day?
I always start with water and scroll through my social feeds.
Do you have any morning rituals?
My two young kids and I sing funny songs and have a laugh over breakfast before daycare drop off.
How soon do you begin doing work-related things, i.e. checking phone or emails?
Straight away when I wake up (even though I know I shouldn’t). I like to scan through social and check any urgent emails that may have come through to set myself up for the day.
What’s your media consumption or interaction like from the morning onwards – do you listen to podcasts, radio, watch videos, read books and magazines, visit new sites?
I’m looking at new campaigns, design, packaging and activations, however a simple stupid video that pops up or an aesthetically pleasing post on Notcot can interrupt these.
What kind of work do you do?
I am a creative, that’s the title I had on my business card at Colenso, DDB and other agencies I worked at previously, however my wife and business partner Laura calls me a dreamer. I like to think I dream commercially.
I like to think I dream commercially.
I co-run my own advertising and design agency, RUN, so am constantly coming up with creative campaign ideas and learning about what’s new in the industry.
What’s unique about your line of work?
I literally think for a living, with a few emails and meetings chucked in.
What responsibility does that involve in a typical day?
I am the creative director at our agency so I’m constantly swapping from one project to the next. One minute I can be thinking of campaign ideas for clients, and the next, I’m tools-on in Creative Suite, mocking up a layout.
What takes up most of your time?
Thinking of ideas and producing client projects, plus a few too many meetings.
Who do you see/talk to?
I like to be direct and talk to and meet with the decision makers – usually marketing managers, CEOs or head of’s. Of course talking to staff and suppliers is also part of my day.
Where do your best ideas come from?
Frustration and problems cause the best ideas.
What are the most important tools or programmes you use for your work?
Paper, lots of paper and sharpies. I’ve also taught myself Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing, so I can get more hands-on sometimes.
How do you juggle all your responsibilities?
Quite well I think, when you have two energetic young boys, you need to be able to juggle. We’ve got some amazing clients and travel a lot for work and they come along with us too, so that also helps.
What kind of breaks do you take throughout the day?
I’m always switched on. I don’t tend to take a lot of breaks, but my day is broken up into doing a lot of different things, which kind of feels like a lot of smaller breaks. If I feel like getting out I’ll take the dog for a walk.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?
Learning new things and applying that learning to generate ideas. Plus I love hearing about client wins, however small or large they may be.
What about the least enjoyable?
Knowing in the back of my mind that some ideas can take a long time to come to fruition.
Do you procrastinate?
No, most things I like to get on top of straight away, although sometimes, I do a little, depending on how big the task is.
Is it good or bad?
Good, I think. I’m gung ho with trying to solve a problem. Being a creative for so long, you become fast at filtering ideas and as a business owner, solving problems.
Do you measure your accomplishments or productivity?
Yes, we’re measuring all the time.
If so, how?
We are constantly looking at our systems and processes and how we can make them better. Awards and other accolades is one measure of our success and we were lucky to get some good ones last year. Also through the amazing results we get for our clients, which are often very measured.
Is there anything you think is unique about your day?
The majority of my time is spent running the agency, but we’re also working on launching a new alcohol company as well as a novelty stress relief app, so swapping from one to the other is pretty unique.
What’s your interaction with friends and family throughout the day? Can you be both a successful entrepreneur and a good father/partner/friend?
We’re a genuinely family-friendly agency, so our kids are often around and sometimes in meetings or traveling with us for work. My wife is my business partner, so we’ve made it work for us by trying to be good parents and partners. I’m pretty close with my family and see them regularly, but should perhaps see more of my friends – they often get a phone call or Facebook message about a random idea or fact check.
Absolutely I get stressed. However, I’ve learnt over time that the world won’t end.
Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it?
Absolutely I get stressed. However, I’ve learnt over time that the world won’t end. Sometimes I’ll sing to relieve stress – I’ve been known to go out to karaoke with clients and belt out some Usher. Stress has also led me to an idea for a new app we’re currently working on with the University of Auckland, so it can lead to good things.
Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?
I don’t, but I am currently reading a book to my four-year-old called ‘Happy’, which is based on mindfulness for children.
What do you do once you get home? Can you switch off?
I make up silly songs with my boys, make dinner and start the bedtime routine. I never switch off. I don’t believe in work life balance, it all just flows into one.
What time do you go to sleep?
I’m in bed before 12, I’ve learnt as a parent I personally only need about six hours sleep to function at a high level.
Thank you Raymond!
This interview was first published by our friends at Idealog on Monday 21 January.