In the world of public relations it’s hard to find time to sleep. New stories always need to be pitched, thought-provoking tweets need to be sent and time-sensitive crises need to be extinguished. Learning to build and maintain an image, whether it’s for a brand, organization or individual can consume your life if you let it. As new professionals we feel like we have something to prove. Just the thought of turning off our phones might make us feel like we are going to miss the PR opportunity of a lifetime. I have good news! Another opportunity will come along.
As a new professional in the PR industry, finding a work-life balance can be challenging. We want to over deliver and work long hours to earn our spot at the meeting table. Also, our job is fun, which makes it hard to stop. In what other industry do you get to create engaging news stories, take over the social media world and throw memorable parties? Time flies in the PR industry and I often find myself begging the clock for a few extra hours.
Despite your love of the job, the hours and intensity will eventually catch up with you and your life outside of work will want to take center stage. So, how do we “do it all”?
- Race Against the Clock – With limited hours in the day it is extremely important to manage your time. First, make a list of your tasks. Next, prioritize them by deadline and importance. This may seem obvious, but do the items with a tight deadline or items that need multiple approvals first. If you are at a standstill with an individual project, bounce ideas off a colleague or mentor. When booking meetings or after work socials, make sure you have a little time to breathe between each event. Rushing from one thing to the next will wear you out.
- Divide and Conquer – You have a team surrounding you for a reason. If you need a press release reviewed, a few social media posts written or brainstorming support, don’t hesitate to delegate to an intern or co-worker on your team. Even if you work solo on a daily basis, you still have a network of PR professionals (i.e. PRSA) surrounding you to lend a hand. Using others around you as a resource will help you accomplish more within your work hours.
- Learn The Art of Being Selective – With professional organizations, recreational sports, social events and service projects, when do we say no? Building networks, professionally and personally is extremely important, but be mindful of which organizations suck time and which ones add value. Join a select few organizations where you can commit and truly engage. Don’t join everything just to say you did.
- Unplug – When the workday is over, disconnect from your electronics. We all need time to reboot. It has taken three years in the industry for me to realize doing this is okay. Our clients take vacations and our bosses sleep at night. We can too. Being without an iPhone, laptop or Wi-Fi can be scary, but take that time to enjoy the world around you. I promise you won’t regret it and your quality of work will show for it.
Hannah Wilson works as an Account Executive at Spark Strategic Ideas. As a leader on the account management team she oversees the daily actives of over 50 Moe’s Southwest Grill locations, international toy manufacturer Schleich and North Carolina-based restaurant Hubee D’s. Hannah graduated with a B.A. in Communication with a concentration in public relations from Virginia Tech. She is a member of the PRSA Charlotte New Professionals board.