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Here are some recommendations and tips for you by our creative best to help you ace the Coronavirus lockdown
Industry leaders share their content recommendations and tips to ensure that creativity isn't hampered
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From book and content recommendations to work-life balance tips, our creative leaders have got you covered

Industry leaders share their content recommendations and tips to ensure that creativity isn't hampered
  • As another week of the national lockdown starts, we talk to our creative best, to help us glide through the remaining days.
  • They were gracious enough to share their content recommendations to some secret tips around how to attain that difficult-to-attain work-life balance.
Today is Day 13 of the 21 day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spread in the country. And the past 13 days, for most of us, have gone out in adapting to this new normal, a life where you only meet your family, all social interactions are restricted to Zoom and Hangout calls.

We are definitely living in unprecedented times, which also calls for a lot of changes in our lives. While for a lot of people, not having to travel, especially in Mumbai, has come as a boon in disguise, our daily routines are now needed to be completely rethought. With spending all our time at home, and working from our living rooms, it has become difficult to differentiate between work time and personal time.

The social isolation has also led to a lot of anxiety and fears around the uncertainties of the next few days. It is also changing out content consumption habits. We are watching more TV, spending more time on social media platforms and consuming more content on Netflix. Various reports have suggested that OTT platforms are witnessing a surge on their platforms. People are also consuming news, to stay abreast of everything happening around them.

While many of us are still struggling to strike that perfect balance between work - both official and chores, with work creeping into our personal time, we reached out to some of the most prominent faces from the creative world, to ask them how they have been dealing with the situation, what kind of everyday changes are they bringing about in their lives and how are they ensuring a healthy work-life balance?

Read on for some really helpful tips and brilliant recommendations that can come handy, and help you glide through the next few days of isolation.

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From book and content recommendations to work-life balance tips, our creative leaders have got you covered

Bobby Pawar, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Havas Group India

Bobby Pawar, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Havas Group India

Maintaining a sense of normalcy

I got reacquainted with a simple fact that I knew when I lived in The States. Floors, furniture and dishes do not clean themselves. So, these days, when I’m not working, I try to be my wife’s helper. And I’ve got to tell you, that sh*t is hard. Dusting is no joke, neither is folding clothes. When what needs doing is done, we hang as a family, listen to music. My daughter sings along, I sort of warble. We chat about stuff, like how the kids’ online classes are going. We pull each other’s legs a bit. We also give each other space, because there is nothing worse than someone being in your face all the time.

The importance of a healthy work-life balance

I have realized that what is healthy is that my mind remains engaged. In my case, I’ve found that work gives me the balance from worrying about what is going on around us. It gives me focus, because I’m caught up in solving a brand’s problems. But I balance that by trying to do fun things with the family, watching funny or uplifting content. I don’t spend more than 10-15 min reading about COVID 19. That’s what I urge my team to do.

Content/book recommendations

1. Netflix specials by various Stand-up Comics. Laughing in the face of adversity works for me.

2.Music videos on Youtube

3. Feel good TV Shows and movies. I am taking a hiatus from depressing content, no matter how great it is.

Three tips to help creativity flow

1. If you work with a partner, talk to her/him often. If you don’t, talk to someone you trust as a sounding board. Good ideas come out of interesting conversations.

2. Stimulate your brain. I start the day by looking at great work from around the world. It inspires me and I’m sure it will do the same for you.

3. When you are stuck, go do something else. Wash dishes, re-arrange furniture, water the plants. Don’t start an argument with your better half. (I did that a few days back, my ego is still carrying the scars.) Mentally distancing myself from the problem helps me look at it differently when I get back to attacking it.

Satbir Singh, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Thinkstr

Satbir Singh, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Thinkstr

Maintaining a sense of normalcy

When you’re #wfh-ing, there’s the work-work and there’s the household chores. I like to cook but haven’t cooked as much as I would like to yet. I’ll soon make up for it. That apart, kiddo and I play a bit of living room cricket. You can always hear a groan of disapproval from the table lamps and vases around. But they’ll have to deal with it. Then there’s the onerous task of being on social media. Recently, I started a very engaged conversation on our favourite TV shows from the 80s. It blew up. Nostalgia always gets people going.

Content/book recommendations

My top recommendation would be The Test on Prime. It’s the story of the rebuilding of Australian cricket in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal. I think it’s a superb behind-the-scenes case study of a brand relaunch. Do see it.

That apart, I like to see European movies and series. Nothing To Hide is a French movie about a group of friends with spouses at a dinner where they decide to answer their phone on speakerphone and read each other’s texts aloud. Brilliant.

I had picked up A Gentleman In Moscow (Amor Towles) but before I could start, Mrs Singh called dibs on it. Considering we’re going to be in a lockdown with each other for 21 days, I didn’t pursue the matter.

The importance of a healthy work-life balance

Let’s face it: we are used to having help around. We won’t have it for a month. All the chores will be yours to do. Add to that, we will be shifting our workspace to our homes which is different and more difficult than bringing work home. This, more than ever, is the time to find that elusive balance.

Three tips to help creativity flow

1. Firstly, we have to remember that it’s not a 21-day holiday. It’s business as unusual, but business nevertheless. Find your corner in the house where you can be most productive and squat.

2. The advantage of being physically away from office, and its accompanying distractions, allows you to think more than usual. Use this time and opportunity to think bigger for your brands, your team, your agency.

3. And, as an antidote to point two above, be in touch. That keeps a reality check. Just being holed up in your apartment is going to get to you sooner or later. The only way you can get ‘out of your lockdown’ and ‘go out’ is when you are on that video call. Keep up the banter and camaraderie. Everyone needs it around the world right now.

Agnello Dias-Creative Chairman, DAN and Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Taproot Dentsu

Agnello Dias-Creative Chairman, DAN and Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Taproot Dentsu

The best part about any fitness routine (in my case it’s a bit of stretching) is that it doesn’t have to be early in the morning but at a more humane hour.

I’m choosing a music group a day and listening to just that. Yesterday it was CCR, the day before The Who, tomorrow is Kishore Kumar. Work efficiencies have improved because travel time is completely out of the picture which in Mumbai was a big factor.

I am also trying to become a ‘binge watcher’ which I’ve never been but I soon lose patience and eventually start surfing even Netflix and Prime. Of course, cooking is clearly divided with one day per member but eventually Nandini is the fall back for everyone. I think I’m good at cleaning up and tend to take that on. So that’s that. I think we would really go crazy if it was the global internet that caught a pandemic.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, 82.5 Communications

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, 82.5 Communications

Maintaining a sense of normalcy

Life in the times of corona is all about maintaining a sense of normalcy—albeit a ‘new normalcy’. So far, work has been going on full steam—which means work done remotely on laptops, integrated via the net and presented at meetings conducted on video calls. Regular exercise is more important now than ever before. Before the lockdown, I had acquired exercise bands and weights, so I am able to improvise many of my gym workouts at home. My trainer monitors me via video call. Socialising is important to maintain one’s sanity. I have attended a few parties after ‘work from home’ started—all via video call, of course. It is not the same as meeting in person, but it is still fun. I love to write so, apart from work-related writing, I am taking advantage of the lockdown to write my own personal stuff—which I just wasn’t getting the requisite quiet time for earlier.

Content/book recommendations

I watched a movie called The Two Popes on Netflix. Based on the true story of a remarkable friendship between a German and an Argentinian pope. Loved it. Other favourites are the movie Pan’s Labyrinth and the series Broadchurch, both on Netflix. Alexander McCall Smith’s series of novels, ‘The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’, is my recommendation for fiction. Set in Botswana, the stories are about the cases solved by Precious Ramotswe, the proprietor and chief detective of the agency. She is sort of like the Miss Marple of Africa. These charming books are a breezy read and serve as great stress relievers. For creative people, especially writers, a special thing to note about the author is that he writes 1,000 words an hour! I have two non-fiction recommendations: The first is Rory Sutherland’s book Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life. This will inspire you to think more ingeniously on your brands. The second recommendation is actually from my alter ego, The English Nut. The book he recommends is Mark Forsyth's The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language. It is a witty account of the stories behind the words we use every day.

Three tips to help creativity flow

1. Read the books I have recommended above. Or something of your choice—it does not matter what. The point is, as Shashi Tharoor said, to read.

2. Work on a creative project that you have been putting off. Preferably one that is not related to work.

3. Learn a foreign language online. Learning a new language is proven to strengthen your brain. And hey, when all this is over, it could be fun to travel abroad and be able to speak with the locals in their native tongue!

Sandipan Bhattarcharyya, Chief Creative Officer and Managing Director, GREY Group India

Sandipan Bhattarcharyya, Chief Creative Officer and Managing Director, GREY Group India

Maintaining a sense of normalcy

I’m practicing playing possum with the kids. Basically, the moment they want you to get involved in any high-energy juvenile games, you tell them about this new game that’s all the rage and drop dead on the couch. I’m also teaching them essential cleaning, mopping and washing skills, which should make my life a whole lot easier by next week.

Content/book recommendations

1. Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

2. Chasing Amy – Kevin Smith

3. Fauda - Netflix

The importance of a healthy work-life balance

Honestly, I never thought working from home could get so intense! While we’re probably trying to overcompensate for the current scenario by fixing more video calls than necessary, the chores and the kids are ensuring there’s never a dull moment. Sure, it’s chaotic at times but this window of social distancing may just be the perfect time to get really snug with family.

Three tips to help creativity flow

1. Tune in to Lo-Fi beats, really helps you focus.

2. Try a client video call in your boxers, it’s very liberating.

3. Don’t think of ideas where brand names, logos or headlines are spaced apart.


COVID-19IndiaCases: 246,628Deaths: 6,929Recovered: 119,293
COVID-19WorldCases: 6.66mnDeaths: 393kRecovered: 3.09mn
COVID-19USACases: 1.86mnDeaths: 108kRecovered: 501k