PR is a busy and varied career choice and one which can be rewarding on many levels. It is one of those occupations where the more you put in the more you get back. This means that at times it can be stressful as demands are high and the flow of media opportunities never ceases. Mash PR’s Managing Partner Stu Campbell-Carran gives us his 20 tips on how to manage the demanding life of a public relations officer.
The media is ‘always on’ and social media is an intrinsic part of everyday life. As such, PR people have to go the extra mile to maintain momentum and win. PR is no longer a nine-to-five occupation - it is a lifestyle choice.
PR is a profession run by deadlines, long to-do lists and high expectations. Not to mention the energy, drive and emotional input needed. So, how can we avoid getting stressed in this busy, buzzing media environment?
Here are my top tips for maintaining equilibrium, harmony and our happiness. Some of these are practical tips and some are mental programming - which need mindset shifts to work. It is possible to change how you think and how you view things.
Try one, or a combination of these tips, and you will notice a difference.
1. Remove the mask - don’t over analyse what people think of you. Be proud in what you achieve and for doing a great job. As PRs we get judged on the results we achieve.
2. Believe in your heart - trust your intuition. Gut feelings are often a good basis for a decision. If you don’t enjoy your role then change it. PR is not for everyone.
3. Breathe - press pause. Take time out. You are human and not a machine. Regular breaks from your desk and screen are essential to maintain well-being. Space breeds creativity and this is important.
4. Be thankful - gratitude is a great trait to foster in the workplace and shows that you are appreciative. Showing and giving thanks is a good thing.
5. Be positive - I am a great believer in the ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. Positive mental attitudes attract positivity and this fosters success.
6. Do your best - 99 is not 100. Aim to reach your personal 100% and that is all you can do. Passing off sub-standard work in order to clear an action off a to-do list is not a good strategy.
7. Small steps forward - it is better to chip away at several projects and maintain momentum. Rather than focus all energies on one action to the detriment of another. Progress in small steps is better than nothing and you will feel a greater sense of achievement in the long run.
8. Spend time with positive people - this is very true. Listening to negative colleagues whine will only stress you out. Spending time with positive people will lift your spirits and lessen your stresses. People who moan are often selfish.
9. Experiences over possessions - life can be a rich tapestry of experiences. The more you challenge yourself to do new things the happier you will be. Life will become richer and more rewarding. Materialism is a negative trait so focus on doing stuff rather than owning stuff.
10. Don’t over-personalise work - everybody will receive feedback and criticism. View this as a positive. By understanding where things can improve we can work to make positive differences. Bearing a grudge and over-analysis will fuel negative emotions.
11. Get sh*t done! - focus and dedicate time to getting tasks done. Leaving things on a to-do list and procrastination builds anxiety and stress. Tackle the least favourite tasks first.
12. Bite that tongue - patience is a virtue. Take a moment to plan responses and you will be more considered and calm. Arguing, snapping and reacting are not great strategies for harmony in the workplace.
13. Walk away from drama - there is no need to get involved in every single workplace drama. Only make head space for your own issues and do not allow yourself to get distracted. Filling your mind with other people’s dramas is not a positive thing.
14. Focus on tomorrow - yesterday has gone, today is going, so focus on making tomorrow better. Use learnings and experiences to make tomorrow a great day. There is always room for improvement and everyone can learn more.
15. Schedule time for your sanity - it’s important to take time to think about how you are feeling. Ask yourself how happy you are and identify what the causes of your stress are.
16. Take notes and doodle - write stuff down. This frees up headspace and reduces anxiety as you will not be worrying about something else. Good quality detailed notes are essential. Doodles clear the mind. Use both techniques and you will get cracking quicker. Some of the most successful business people I know doodle every day.
17. Love - love has many guises and it is a healthy emotion. Whether it’s passion, a pet, a friend or family. Make time in life to love others and also to love yourself.
18. Sleep - everyone needs to rest and recharge. Ensure you get the best quality sleep you can. We all know about blue light from portables keeping us awake. Also take time to look at your sleep environment and ensure it is peaceful, dark and comfortable.
19. Exercise - whether it’s a walk or a gym session, keeping fit and active helps your body and mind to function better.
20. Eat and drink - feed your body and your soul. Stay hydrated! Healthy eating and a balanced diet is important, but don’t be afraid to indulge in something you desire. Treating oneself is not a mortal sin. Everything in moderation of course.
If you have other tips or advice that have worked for you I’d love to hear them.