It’s a hectic time to be a PR pro.
Our jobs require close attention to the nonstop news cycle, while still managing our own digital presence and securing client placements. Knowing when to switch off or take a break requires purposeful, strategic effort.
No matter how well we do our jobs (one of the most stressful on the planet, apparently), if we don’t take care of ourselves, eventually there will be no business or work to tend to.
Here are a few suggestions to find a better balance:
Use a timer.
Online rabbit holes can steal hours from your day. To preserve precious time, identify the priorities on your list, then set a timer for each task.
Try the Tomato Timer or the Pomodoro Technique, which slices work into tidy intervals and breaks. Allotting specific chunks of time to accomplish tasks can make your day more efficient and manageable, but it requires discipline. The idea is to reduce stress, so start slowly with assignments you can knock out quickly—such as scheduling social media posts.
Schedule social media, as well as digital and industry research.
Set notifications on client accounts that should be regularly monitored, but schedule everything else. Plot out your time for Instagram, scrolling through Facebook for “research” and sifting through email newsletters.
Identify your go-to publications. Bookmark a list of outlets you frequently visit or put them into a reader, then set the time you will check them.
Take control of your inbox.
Set aside 10 minutes a week to unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters, or use an app such as Unroll Me to cut clutter.
If you’re not able to unsubscribe for some reason (prospect newsletter, media contact friend, etc.), create labels and rules to filter your emails. Spending a morning developing an efficient email filtering system will save you tons of time in the long run.
Consider creating a new email account exclusively for shopping or brand newsletters that you can check weekly.
Force yourself to take breaks and move around.
Exercise is good for the body and great for the brain. Getting the blood flowing helps with cognitive skills and memory.
Take downtime each day, even if it’s just one 15-minute slot to slow down and breathe.
Try to take regular breaks and get outside. Walk around the block, eat lunch outside, or stretch. Don’t look at your phone; give your brain a break.
Drink more water.
The next time you head for another cup of coffee, try a tall glass of water instead. Much of the time we are tired and run down in part because we are dehydrated.
Try drinking water from a beautiful glass, or add fresh lime or a sprig of rosemary to make it seem more like a treat. If you need a reminder, there are loads of apps to help you remember to drink your water.
We work in an industry that’s on around the clock. Remember that it’s OK to relax—even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Taking breaks can bring about fresh creativity and new ideas. That renewed energy and clarity will be appreciated by your clients and media partners, as we all help one another navigate these turbulent times.