i wanted to thank you all for the warm responses and kind comments on my last working girl post. i'm excited to see where this series goes!
working in PR often means crumbling up your day's perfectly drafted to-do list and heading into an entirely different direction. while this is only natural when juggling several clients, it can make meeting deadlines and moving projects forward more tricky. some days, after an exhausted whirlwind of meetings, calls and tackling my inbox, i can't even cross a single item of my list.
while i don't think i'll ever perfect the skill, i have picked up some tips for prioritizing that will help you in your quest for a well marked up to-do list by the end of the day:
1. start the day before.
whether it's picking out your outfit, packing your lunch, laying out or sleeping in your gym clothes (whatever works ;), or making your to do list the night before, tackling mindless tasks before your day begins shave valuable time off your morning routine and saves you from making these decisions in the morning.
2. timing is everything.
we all have a time of day when we're at our best, and one when we're not so impressive. for me, the 3 o'clock slump struggle is real and is a time where i'm less enthusiastic about starting new projects. i like to do "mindless" tasks during this time. anything that requires organizing, highlighting, reviewing or finalizing is pushed to the end of the day. while brainstorming, beginning anything new and in-depth writing are best started in the morning for me. get your more difficult tasks done during your peak time to make sure they get done and get done well.
if you're looking for them, an office provides plenty of opportunities for distractions. but you're not safe from them when working at home either. when you need to buckle down and complete a task, unplug until it's done. all too often i get 95% along on multiple projects and have to spend time at the end of the day finalizing several deliverables i should have finished earlier. close your office door and browser windows, silence your email and phone and reward yourself with a visit to your instagram feed after you've completed your item- it'll taste that much sweeter.
4. rule of three.
if i can accomplish three important projects in one day, i consider it a success. i like to make a list of three things to accomplish each day and a larger list of smaller items for the whole week. if you get through all three in one day, start checking off your list for the week. focusing on three things helps keep your day more manageable and limits feelings of panic.
5. be flexible.
on those days when your poor to-do list gets overrun by unexpected and urgent priorities, try to remain calm and do what you can to move things forward. and hopefully friday isn't too far away ;)