According to Fast Company,

A new survey suggests creative professionals are being asked to do more work in less time–and it’s taking a toll.

The survey found that

the speed at which creative teams are expected to work and the volume of demand for their work were respondents’ No. 1 and No. 2 concerns, respectively.

Part of what’s happening is that while the “strategic” importance of design is considered greater than ever, the field is still very much at the beck and call of others: almost 40% of respondents said they have 50 or more internal stakeholders they need to deal with.

Another issue is that while the work of creating and editing any individual image may be easier (no more pots of glue and Xacto knives), the total number of images you have to produce has gone up dramatically. It’s no longer enough to do one web site; you have to optimize for different browsers, for desktop/tablet/mobile, maybe for different countries and languages. In fact, according to a 2011 survey, “71% of creative workers were producing 10 times more work in 2015 compared with 2010.” (My emphasis, because that statistic is totally insane.)


Plenty of mundane tasks endemic to creative work have been automated–but others haven’t. 46% of the survey’s respondents report spending three to seven hours a week on administrative tasks, like chasing briefs and getting projects approved. 34% spend a whopping seven hours a week on administrative work–that’s almost a full day out of a 40-hour work week.

(I suspect that the automation of mundane tasks is a really good way to tell if a job is valued.)

Anyway, it’s another reminder that, as I argue in Rest, just because you “do what you love,” you shouldn’t do it 24 hours a day– especially if you have to do it for dozens of different clients, some of whom will want different and mutually exclusive things, and many of whom knowingly exploit your passion and pride in your craft.