Many of us in the PR industry have faced this issue at some point: you just finished up a few projects, and looking at your to-do list, you notice that you need final approval from your clients before moving forward on anything. So, what do you do now? Oftentimes, we are so focused on our clients that we rarely take time for ourselves. Instead of clicking around social media or finding out if you would survive a zombie apocalypse on Buzzfeed, try some of these ways to pass the time while remaining productive.
Organize your desk. Don’t wait for “spring cleaning” to organize your desk. While a lot of what we do has moved to the virtual world, there are still some instances where we work with physical sheets of paper. Are you still saving that status report from June? Go through your files and clear out anything that is outdated. Even if you normally keep your desk in tip-top shape, you may discover some old papers you can get rid of to clear space. You’ll feel much better when your desk and files aren’t messy, both now and in the spring!
Watch a webinar. When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s easy to get stuck in the same routines rather than taking the time to learn new and better ways to do things. Luckily, there are tons of webinars available online that you can watch at any time…for free. These can be especially helpful with some of the tasks on your daily to-do list. For example, getting lazy with building media lists is an easy habit to form, but a hard one to shake. However, watching a webinar could offer new ideas on how to build these lists, including more effective ways to find reporters’ contact information and identify the proper person to contact at an outlet. We may be professionals, but that doesn’t mean we know everything.
Plan ahead. Most of us PR professionals usually have very busy schedules, leaving very little room for any free time. As a result, it’s always more efficient to be one step ahead of the game so you can be fully prepared for any unforeseen challenge. Take a look at your calendar, review your status reports and browse your clients’ websites. Are any major events or projects coming down the pike? Come up with a plan now, so that when your to-do list is jam-packed, you’ll know exactly how to attack it.
Read the news. Whether it’s current national news, client-specific industry news or trend stories, it’s never a bad idea to keep yourself educated on what’s happening in the world. You may discover a new social media trend that you can capitalize on for a client, or uncover a unique pitch angle. Even if you don’t find something you can use for a client, you’re still taking the time to learn more about current events or your clients’ fields, which is certainly not a bad thing.
Write. You know what they say, “practice makes perfect.” While we get plenty of practice writing for our clients every day, we don’t always get the opportunity to write what’s on our mind. Whether it’s for a company blog, personal website or one of the many sites accepting contributors, you will only strengthen your writing abilities by continuing to write in ways other than for a client.
How do you remain productive in your free time? Let us know in the comments.