My Week – Dan Clays

It is Sunday late afternoon, and with the Sunday Times’ Sport pages scattered across the kitchen table and the travel section set aside to show my wife the Top 10 Places to Escape this New Year, I move on to the Business supplement.

It is at this point most weekends when my mind reluctantly switches from holiday planning and football scores to take a sharp focus to the working week ahead; which meetings I’m looking forward to and which ones need some urgent planning.

To Monday then, and after victoriously securing a precious seat on the Northern Line from Balham to Tottenham Court Road, I know it’s going to be a good week.

The day starts at the agency with a gathering of Quantum’s senior management team to review the big client initiatives we need to deliver over the week ahead; which when writing this ranged from the 2009 paid search plans for Haven Holidays to the latest update on the build of a Facebook application for Fly Thomas Cook.

The session also gives us a chance to chew the fat over our thoughts on current issues in the digital market place, at which point the meeting overruns, and Sabrina, my brilliant new PA, hauls me out to go and meet Dennis Woodside, managing director at Google, who has been waiting patiently for me in reception.

I try and meet with three or four heads of the big digital media owners each week to ensure we are getting the best deals possible but also to ensure we are up to speed earlier than most on the latest opportunities for clients.

Lunch is nothing more glamorous than the new turkey and cranberry range that enters the shelves of Pret-a-Manger at this time of year (it is quite under-rated and surprisingly low in fat).

Every afternoon I always try and block out an hour in the diary without any meetings to do work.

It’s amazing how a one-hour diary entry marked “WORK” can actually pay off.

Having signed off the latest agency case studies, completed two staff performance reviews and having updated the agency P+L, I am glowing with a sense of achievement and head off to sit in the corner of the planning room to review a Strategy Status for our T-Mobile client.

I leave the meeting an hour later shaking my head wondering why I am not at clever as some of our planners, but know that I have the edge when it comes to knowing where to take my Haven client for a drink in the West End to catch up.

Half a bottle of wine later, my Haven client and I agree that it is time to head home to catch the next episode of Spooks, and wonder if any of my brainy planners are actually moonlighting for MI5.

Dinner will hopefully be a step-up from my turkey sandwich.

Dan Clays is managing director at BLM Quantum

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