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Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail: Time Management for PR Peeps

April 18, 2013     MAVERICK

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Part of being a MAVERICK is spreading the knowledge (and the love!) around to the team to help us all work better, smarter and more efficiently. My colleague Natasha and I recently hosted a lunch and learn on the topic of time management – an important skill to master as a PR agency employee. When working with multiple clients, that each have multiple projects and deadlines, it’s easy to get overwhelmed if we’re not carefully managing our time.

Natasha and I are both devoted to our to-do lists and Outlook calendars. Here are our top tips for getting a handle on your task list.

Get Organized

Having an organized workspace is essential to getting things done. It’s estimated that every year, each person spends an average of 76 hours looking for things – including emails and electronic files on their computers. Having an organized workspace is essential to getting things done. Not being able to find a file, document or email wastes a heck of a lot of time – billable time, at that.

Prioritize

On any given day, we can find ourselves with anywhere from 10 to 10,000 (or so it seems) items on our task list. While it’s satisfying to cross every item off our list at the end of the day, sometimes it’s simply not possible to get it all done. During the session, we walked through Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix. It’s a great way to identify which items on your to-do list are truly urgent and which ones aren’t. Understanding the difference between our must-dos (crafting a statement for a client crisis) and our nice-to-haves (researching online influencers for your client’s back-to-school campaign… in January) is the key to getting the right work done at the right moment.

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I like to use a combination of my Outlook calendar, Evernote and a hard-copy day planner to track my to-do list, deadlines and upcoming projects. Between old-fashioned tools like a pen and pad of paper, Smartphones and cloud-based options available today, surely you can find a system that works for you. Simply having a system – and one that is easy to use and efficient – is more important than the tools.

While the tools I use to keep myself organized change from time to time, these three pillars of effective time management always remain the same.

What types of tools and tricks do you use to keep yourself on track?

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