Sponsored / Graphic Design

“We’re just human, we can’t magic time up”: how to curate the right creative work-life balance


Mica Warren

When artist and director Jimmy Turrell gets in from work, the last thing he wants to do is work. This, you’d think, is fair enough. After all, don’t most of us feel like we deserve a chance to rest, recuperate after a long, hard day at the creative coalface?

Well, of course we do. Sadly, here in the constantly shifting thing that is life, the notion of “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what you will,” which served the socialist uprising so well, no longer quite fits.

Instead ten hours for work, two hours for frantically refreshing emails on the way home, 45 minutes at the gym, five hours for rest, four hours cycling through the same four apps and two hours for chasing invoices and keeping on top of the day-to-day admin that keeps freelancers, start ups, and small businesses afloat is a bit more like it.

Enter ANNA, the “Absolutely No Nonsense Admin” app aiming to make life that little bit easier for those of us who occasionally wake up at three in the morning with the words “overdue invoice” running round our heads.


A business account that currently offers automated invoicing, personalised financial insight reports, always-available assistance and payroll and tax services on the way, think of ANNA as a time-saving assistant that sits in your pocket at all times. It frees you up to concentrate on the stuff that actually matters, whether you’re a painter daubing away at your latest masterpiece, or a new agency looking to launch yourself into the stratosphere.

“We’re just human, we can’t magic time up,” says Jimmy, a man whose body of work spans everything from directing brilliant music videos for slacker-pop icon Beck to producing bespoke, Byker-inspired typefaces for us here at It’s Nice That. That may be true, but we can look to ANNA to help with how to successfully manage that time we’re given. Jimmy knows more than most about how difficult it can be to juggle multiple projects with their multiple deadlines and multiple potential financial headaches. “I think my approach to time management really does ebb and flow,” he tells us.


For Jimmy, honesty is at the root of managing time effectively. When there’s a lot going on, it’s a case of being honest with clients or editors. Time, as we’ve established, is not a property that can be conjured out of thin air with a flamenco dancer’s finger-click, so if you find yourself deliberating between rushing to get something done just to hit that daunting deadline or politely, calmly asking for a little more time, always attempt the latter. “They either get the work now and it looks not amazing, or you get given a couple of extra days and it looks great. Most of the time you can do that because most people want good work.”

With ANNA on your side, even if you can’t agree a workaround with a client, you can at least rest easy, safe in the knowledge that come the end of the project you’ll have a few less financial issues to worry about. Onto the next pitch!

Asked to impart words of wisdom to the students out there right now who will one day become the next generation of Jimmy Turrells’, the designer is insistent on one thing: the necessity to actually, properly, genuinely switch off from work: “I’ve tried to take things home myself, so I know how easily it is done,” he says. “You have to remember that there’s always, always going to be more work to do in your head than in reality, because if you love your job, your work is never finished. Which is good and bad. Most of us could work 24/7. But you owe yourself a break. Enjoy that break. Think of it as fuel for the next project.”


Given the sort of unexpectedly clear schedule that using ANNA can begin offering creatives, Jimmy knows how he’d divvy up a day off that hadn’t been bunged in the diary a year before. “It depends where I am. If I was in London, say, I reckon I’d either go straight to the Tate. Or maybe I’d explore the secret side of London, dipping into kooky little drinking spots like Gordon’s Wine Bar on Villiers Street.” Then again, he might use that time to just sink into the sofa with a good movie. “You know, I’ve still not seen loads of stuff that’s up for the Oscars this year, like If Beale Street Could Talk, he says of Barry Jenkins’ highly-regarded follow-up to stone cold 21st century classic, Moonlight.

Whatever it is you do with that time — maybe you’ll finally tuck into Don Quixote, get to grips with the rudimentals of Finnish grammar, or slow-roast a slab of ox cheek for five glorious hours — make sure you don’t have to spend a second of it trying to recall if you ever pinged off that invoice or not…


ANNA is an app, a card and a business account that helps creative small businesses and startups with their financial admin. ANNA is made up of design, marketing and tech experts from across the world. We see a future where ideas, creativity and innovation are encouraged and running a business is fun. Join ANNA now so you can spend more time doing what you love.