7 tips to help PR pros increase productivity

You’ve got a lot of work to accomplish, but there are only so many hours in a day. Here are ideas to help make the most of your limited time.


Are you having trouble finding time to complete your work amid all the time wasters and distractions in your office?

Meetings, email, chat, robocalls, spam, social media, “pop ins,” software updates, loud cube mates and more can keep you from doing your best work. Don’t let those pesky tasks stack up on you.

Below are seven ways to work around any workplace distraction:

1. Set up a work day.

Have a project deadline looming? Set up a “work day” with your team by locking yourselves in a conference room for the entire day. Set your calendars to “busy” and order in lunch. Establish goals and assign tasks beforehand so you can focus during your time together.

2. Turn off email.

For years, I was in the habit of answering email immediately so I could clear my inbox. I then realized this was distracting me from work that required focus and concentration (like writing and editing). Now, I keep my email program closed, except during designated “email time,” first thing in the morning, immediately after lunch and before the end of the day.

3. Say “no” to meetings—or attend a small part.

If you can’t make a meeting, say so. Offer to follow up later. If your attendance is required, put a time limit on how long you can stay. As Winston Churchill says in “The Crown,” “…if there is one thing I have learned in 52 years of public service, it is that there is no problem so complex, nor crisis so grave, that it cannot be satisfactorily resolved within 20 minutes.”

4. Break big tasks into manageable chunks.

Stop waiting for the “perfect” time to complete a big project. That time will likely never come. Instead, break the big project into smaller projects and set goals to complete them between meetings and interruptions. Complete the outline for your presentation one day, and use the next to find all your resources. You’ll be less frustrated and less likely to procrastinate.

5. Listen to podcasts.

Do you need to stay up to date on industry news, but don’t have time to read that stack of trade journals or wade through an inbox full of email newsletters? Try listening to podcasts. Find one to help keep you informed or to learn about a new topic.

6. Take reading or copy editing tasks with you.

Still have a lot of reading to get through? Take it with you and review it during “down” time. For example, my kids have piano lessons every Monday afternoon. While I’m waiting on them, I read an article or proofread one of our publications. I also take publications or work-related books with me when I’m at the hair salon or if I know I’ll have a long wait at the doctor’s office.

7. Spend time on Friday preparing for Monday.

Are there any small tasks you can complete on Friday afternoon — when you’re in a good mood and feeling efficient — so you don’t have to face them on Monday? It’s tempting to procrastinate and wait until Monday to complete certain tasks, but when Monday morning arrives, you’ll be grateful you took care of it on Friday.

What productivity hacks work for you, PR Daily readers?

Laura Hale Brockway is a writer and editor from Austin, Texas. Read more of her posts on PR Daily and at impertinentremarks.com.

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3 Responses to “7 tips to help PR pros increase productivity”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    Excellent ideas mostly but look at the big advantages NEWSLETTERS give you better than podcasts.

    .1. YOU SAVE TIME. When you feel you know enough about a story you can with newsletters skip to what you care about more but not as easily with podcasts.

    .2. YOU GET FRESHER INFORMATION. Newsletters are updated daily or even several times a day but podcasts give you older news.

    .3. YOUR IDEAS CAN HELP OTHERS. You can more easily get your helpful comments published by newsletters than by podcasters.

    .4. YOU MAY GET MORE ACCURACY. Newsletters have a good name to protect and build up but podcasts are more often a one-shot. Also newsletters can more easily make changes than can podcasts.

    .5. YOU GET REFERRALS IN WRITING. You get written referrals in newsletters but if a podcast refers you to other information sources, you have to take time to write down what, who and where.

    .6. YOU GET HELPFUL ADS. Advertised information must be important enough and helpful enough so readers act on it or else the advertisers would stop paying to advertise.

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