Tuesday’s Tips: 5 Time Management Tips for PR Professionals

So let’s be real – I was supposed to launch this web site on New Years Day. Prior to said release, I built up hype on social media and asked people to sign up for “the latest updates.” I prepared a content calendar, polished the wording of a few paragraphs, and worked with my web designer to get this site ready for the public’s eye.

But, even after all the time and energy I put into launching on January 1, and even after the hard work of so many to pull off a New Years Day launch date – I still felt short and didn’t follow through.

I questioned for a few days why I put so much effort into something that I didn’t finish, and took a hard look at what factors contributed to the project not meeting its deadline. I knew this wasn’t something I wanted to make a habit of, and surely wasn’t a trait I wanted to be associated with my name.

With that spirit in mind, and in reflecting on this, I realized that we, as public relations professionals, are constantly “dodging” and “tackling.” A constant stream of media releases, rapid responses, pitches, media inquiries, and tweets consistently add to our “to do” list, and can oftentimes seem very overwhelming.

So, while I am admittedly a month late launching this web site, I figured what better way to make a splash than to address the topic head on. How do we manage all that comes our way? How do we better plan our time and in turn, ensure that we’re delivering on all fronts?

There’s no silver spoon to time management, but here are 5 tips PR Professionals can start using today to alleviate some of the stress associated with time management:

1.   To Do Lists

It’s as simple as it sounds – make a list of all the things you need to get done. Don’t worry about prioritizing them, just get them down on paper. You can do this on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. In fact, it doesn’t really matter how you do it, it just matters that you actually do it.  Making a to do list not only helps you wrap your head around all you need to accomplish, but also serves as a foundation for the the tips that follow.

2.   Prioritize

Everything isn’t a priority. Let’s face it, some public relations initiatives are more important than others. Amidst the constant flow of content and a faster than ever media cycle, we often find ourself wondering “where to start.” After you’ve created your to do list, estimate next to each task how long it will take you to get it done and when that project is due. From there, simply map out a schedule that works best for you.

3.    Stay Organized

There is no need to be messy. Instead of leaving 50-million windows open in your internet browser, and never filing away and/or deleting e-mails, make better habits when it comes to these things. Close out of old browser windows as you go (that’s what internet history is for), and delete and/or file e-mails as you read them. These tasks only take a few more seconds of our time, but make it much easier to find things as we’re working throughout the day.

4.   Don’t procrastinate

Deadlines are deadlines for a reason. When you know something is due, don’t put it off until the last minute. Instead, as part of your to do lists, make sure you build in time to complete the tasks at hand. Don’t try to be superman and complete the task in record time. Instead, allot yourself a fair amount of time to complete the tasks you know you need to get done.

5.   Communicate

It’s at the very core of what we do – communicate. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, if you’re running behind on a deadline, or if you just need to take a minute, communicate with your clients or colleagues. We’re all human, and oftentimes the feeling of being overwhelmed can be quickly alleviated by simply communicating.