Stress? Check.

29 Apr

Everything in its Right Place. – Radiohead

In 2012, public relations went from being the 2nd most stressful job in the U.S. to number 7. Although I find some comfort in knowing that there are over 320,000 professionals sharing similar work load and stress management issues … that’s still the 7th most stressful job in the nation! So I’m constantly looking for ways to decrease stress while managing to increase productivity each day. So I thought I’d share a few strategies I’m currently using to keep my stress levels down that can be used whether or not you’re in PR:

1) Check Yourself, before you Wreck Yourself = Prioritize.

It can be hard to fight the urgency that everything must be done today but you have to remember that this is not an ideal world, it’s Earth and in the life of PR you will not get everything done in a day. Prioritizing happens all day but there are some things you can do to set yourself up for a more productive day before the office requests start making their way to your inbox.

This can look different for each person but here’s how I do it: I have a Franklin Planner that I use daily to keep track of all my tasks. Each morning, before I head in to work, I list all the items that should be done today. Then I highlight the items that really HAVE to be done today or else a deadline will be missed, etc. I check off each item as it’s completed and move other items forward to tomorrow, the next day or later in the week as the day progresses and I realize that I have even less time than I thought. I also check my email before I leave each day to get it back down under 50 messages and filter any requests that I may have missed within the hundreds of Google Alerts and internal emails.

2) Don’t be afraid to say NO.

This is one of my toughest challenges on a daily basis. Helping people is noble and natural but when it comes to getting your day where it needs to go, you’ve got to say NO. A lot. I constantly have people coming to me for advice, media inquiries, pitch ideas and project sign-offs. Overwhelming is an understatement. You can say no out right or you can offer to trade in exchange for the help your coworker is requesting or even offer to help them later in the day/week. Obviously, client requests are a completely different topic that almost always ends in the word YES.

3) Keep your head in the game = Make it a game.

One of the key takeaways I’ve learned as a PR professional, is the idea of constantly competing with myself. I’ll plan my day and give myself a check each time a to-do item is completed. I’ll try to get a certain number of checks within an hour and focus all my attention on my list at certain points during the day to race to my goal. It can be fun to tag-team with a buddy or two to see who will hit their check goal first. Sounds slightly nerdy I’ll admit but it can be a kick-booty way to get some major productivity going in the afternoon. It’s also great to do in-between meetings.

4) Take Care of You = because No One Else is Going to.

It might sound harsh, but it’s absolutely true. No one else knows exactly how much you can handle or the last time you spent 15 minutes alone. Diet, exercise, investing in your relationships and meditation are all things that are essential to being whole and are sadly, easily subbed out for whatever “hot” project comes up at the office.  I take Sunday’s as my, “me day” and spend them however I see fit each week (they usually involve a big nap, run, planning my week and (ideally) a blog update.)

What tips do you have in your toolkit that help keep your head in the game and your stress at bay?

I’d love to hear them :)

Now back to enjoying my Sunday …



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