Managing dozens of moving parts, filling last minute requests and meeting urgent deadlines are par for the course in PR. Most of us thrive in this fast-paced work climate, but even PR black belts – multitasking masters – can occasionally find themselves frazzled and overwhelmed.
This anxiety, of course, zaps all the fun out of a career in PR, so we’ve compiled a list of simple tips, from “Zen-ing” your office space to adjusting your email management style, which can help eliminate distractions, increase focus, decrease stress and ultimately maximize productivity.
1. Zen Your Office Space
- De-clutter: Is your computer screen so covered in sticky notes that it resembles an Indian headdress? Remove anything from your desk that doesn’t need to be there right now. This includes piles of paper, folders, bobble head dolls and anything else that is visually distracting. If you don’t need it, toss/recycle it. And if space allows, store pens, staplers and other office supplies neatly in a drawer.
- Clean Up Your Computer: Is your desktop is cluttered with word docs that could be filed? Scattered with screenshots of funny stuff you found on the Internet? File or delete. Visual distractions decrease focus and productivity. So do constant instant messages, so avoid chatting while you’re working.
- Simplify Décor: Whether you’re downsizing or starting from scratch, when it comes to “Zen-ing” your workspace, choose simple furniture and décor and keep art to a minimum for maximum effect.
- Emphasize Function & Comfort: After decluttering your space, which is first and foremost, incorporating Feng Shui elements into your office design can also help maximize productivity and overall comfort in your work environment. “Greening your space” is a Feng Shui essential, so start with some potted plants. Just don’t let this happen – this is bad for your Feng Shui (ahem, Lisa).
2. Eliminate Distractions: Go go gadget…back in a drawer! The majority of PR people are perpetually plugged in – it’s what we do after all. But texts, Tweets, and Instagram likes can be majorly distracting; stow your iPhone away at work to prevent getting sidetracked.
3. Master The Task At Hand: According to Inc. Magazine, multitasking drops your IQ by 10-15 points. (As opposed to being stoned, which drops it by five.) Focus on accomplishing one task, and then move on to the next.
4. Manage Your Email in Bulk, Not Bite-size: A great way to sabotage your productivity is to check and respond to emails constantly throughout the entire day. A more efficient approach is to schedule a few times each day to check email, and if there needs to be a long dialogue, pick up the phone – it’s a better use of time.
5. Take a Break: To do its best work, your brain needs a break every hour or so. Get up and walk around, have a snack, trawl Twitter, stand in tree pose – whatever best helps you refocus and replenish. You’ve earned it – now, go ahead.
Sources: Inc. Magazine, Lifehack.org