“If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?”

How many times have you asked someone how they are, and they answered with something along the lines of “Oh grand, keeping busy so I can’t complain”?

I don’t know about you, but it’s something that I hear a lot and I’ve noticed that it’s usually said with a positive connotation. But is it really a good thing?

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Living in a society where everything happens almost instantly, people are finding themselves under a new-found pressure to get as much done as possible in 24 hours. 

If we aren’t in work or university, we’re working on projects or assignments at home. If we aren’t at the gym trying to keep fit, we’re in the house trying to get the place cleaned up for a few more days. We’re living in a world of endless to-do lists, but yet this is portrayed as if it’s something to be happy about.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should sit around all day doing nothing and I for one really admire a hard-work ethic, but have things gotten to the point that we feel guilty for sitting down to watch a movie on a weekday evening, instead of replying to the emails your boss sent 20 minutes after you left the office?

My mother always tells me that she can’t believe when I say that time is going too quickly, because she never felt like that at my age (and it certainly wasn’t because she was sitting around doing nothing). So I couldn’t help but think about why I feel like this so often; and to be honest I blame technology. Yes, I know what you’re thinking…“We all waste so much time on social media”. Which is true, but technology has advanced so much in the last thirty years, we now have fully-functioning computers in our pockets. Everything is so instantaneous. From our communication to our grocery shopping; it can all be done with the click of a few buttons. And I feel that this new quick-paced culture has created a society that is too impatient and expects everything and everyone to be ‘flat to the mat’ 100% of the time. We become aggravated when traffic isn’t moving fast enough or when the wifi isn’t working because we always have things to get done.

That’s what it comes down to isn’t it? We can’t spend too long chatting to our neighbours because we have somewhere to be. We don’t call our family because we can do that any time and there’s six assignments waiting to be finished. We don’t take time to relax after work because the housework needs to be done before bed.

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Personally, I have found myself in a continuous rut of planning every hour of every day so that I can go to work, go to uni, go to the gym, get my assignments done, do some housework, try and see my friends, family and boyfriend, get sufficient sleep, work on my personal brand and so on. We are under so much pressure to do everything all at once, that we don’t make time for the things that we’re essentially working for. You know the feeling; you have something coming up that you should be looking forward to but you aren’t because you just have too much to do.

There’s a saying that goes “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” and I can’t help but feel that 21st century life has put the wrong context to this.

We live in such a constant cycle of trying to catch-up or get ahead that we don’t appreciate what we’ve worked for so far. We need to take a step back and remember that life is not a race, it’s a journey. And by trying to take shortcuts all we are doing is losing out on all the amazing sights along the way.

Okay so yes, being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But we need to stop glorifying busyness as if it’s a sign of success. Do your job and do it well. Do your chores and do them well. Do the things you need to do, and do them well. But do not prioritise the things that can wait, over the things that really matter.

As Eli Wallach asked, “if you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?”

 

Shannon Hegarty is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-hegarty-594193172/ and Twitter: @shannonhegPR

Banksy: King of PR.

We all know the name, we all know his work but we have no idea who he is. How does someone anonymous become one of the most famous names on the planet?

Effective Public Relations.

As an artist, Banksy is undoubtedly talented but his artistic skill isn’t the reason people are so intrigued by him. It is more so because of the messages of his work and the way in which they are portrayed. Unafraid to challenge social norms, political agendas and current affairs it seems as though Banksy’s “muse” for most of his pieces are what some may see as the obvious problems in today’s society; matters that a lot of us can understand and agree with, but never really address. For example, relationships:

Image result for Mobile LoversThe piece above, appropriately named “Mobile Lovers” explicitly illustrates the reality of how mobile phones and social media is consuming our real life relationships. By creating such outspoken and quite often controversial art, Banksy speaks to his publics in a real, raw and honest way – something that we are not accustomed to in this day and age. As more and more organisations attempt to place themselves in a positive light through PR, the more saturated their methods become; we, as consumers have become very aware of what is realistic and what is a mere attempt to come across as “relatable”.

In a definition by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. And if you ask me, Banksy is a PR genius.

His most recent “PR Stunt” occurred at Sotheby’s Art Auction in London, where one of his most famous pieces of artwork “Girl With Balloon” was sold for over one million pounds. As the gavel went down on the auction, the famous painting began to “self-destruct” as attendees looked on in complete shock. Within a few minutes, Bansky posted a photograph on his Instagram page of the shredded picture with the caption “Going, going, gone…”.

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A few hours later, the anonymous street artist then posted this video to his Instagram account showing how he created the shredding frame ‘in case it was ever put up for auction’.

So, what did Banksy achieve from destroying his own work and why was it effective in terms of PR?

Well firstly, he got the people talking – which is ultimately the aim for every PR Image result for just got banksyed tweetStrategy right? Almost immediately, social media was bombarded with images, status’, tweets and stories about the unexpected event. From celebrities to news outlets to the general public, everyone was fascinated with the unknown figures’ latest actions.

Secondly, he got the people thinking – what was the purpose of it? Although he is well known for creating thought-provoking work, the shredding of a one-million-pound painting is certainly one to think about. I suppose there are many ways in which it could be interpreted. As an activist for the people, it could have posed as a rebellious act against the extortionate amount of money spent at these auctions. Maybe it was to give a new meaning to the piece, now named “Love is in the Bin”. Perhaps, it was just purely for the publicity. But whatever the reason, it certainly raised some questions.

And thirdly, whether he meant to or not, he upped the value of his work. After the shock of the stunt started to fizzle out experts began to discuss the new perceived value of the auctioned piece, which evidently got higher, although we are not yet sure by how much. The lady who made the final bid of £1.4m decided to go ahead with her purchase as she now felt that she had a “piece of art history”.

As a former art student, I admire Banksy’s work. And as a final year PR Student, I am in complete awe of his Public Relations methods. It is clear that nothing about Banksy’s reputation is an accident and he knows exactly how to get the right reaction from his publics; that is why Banksy is the King of PR.

 

Shannon Hegarty – final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-hegarty-594193172/ and Twitter: @shannonhegPR