The Art of Multi-Tasking
Being a person that prides herself on being able to organize her life ranging from her office work and desk to her IPod, laptop and closet, when I was told when joining Active PR that I would need to be comfortable with multi-tasking – I thought ‘piece of cake!’
With the notion that being organized meant multi-tasking would come as easily as tying my shoe-lace I quickly picked up that even though it was a helpful tool – multi-tasking was a beast of its own. It was useful that my desk was tidy – that way trying to locate 5 things at once was slightly quicker than it would have been if my desk was a tip – making sure I wrote notes down in a diary was another helpful tool of my organizational OCD that enabled me to remember the 5,000 different little things I had to complete within a 9 hour working day.
I learnt that in public relations, particularly when working within an agency, consultants are constantly juggling different clients and their needs. I could be writing a press release for one client, answering another client’s email all the while chatting to the media pitching a third client’s editorial trying to nail an interview in one of their tier 1 publications.
In the morning my ‘task list’ is my best friend – I know I’ll start off with an average of 15 different things that need to be completed by the end of the day and by 2pm, somehow, through all the emails and the ‘over laptop’ discussions my list has increased from 15 to around 25.
How do I cope? Interesting…when I first started working at Active PR I honestly believed the girls that I worked with were some kind of super humans – they did everything all at once – in the middle of typing up a report they would just pick up the phone call some journalist at whatever publication popped into their minds and pitch an idea that at the time would have never crossed my mind. I would be sitting in my little corner thinking, ‘oh dear how am I going to pick this up?’
That is when my organization, OCD and insane urge to succeed kicked in – I begun keeping track of everything – no matter how big or small, I would write down any sort of idea, angle or pitch that came into my mind and if I was at home, I wrote it on a post it and brought it into the office the next day. I made calendars for every little thing – saved examples of documents on my desktop for my easy reference as well as gathering the courage to pick up the phone call the press and introduce myself.
With time, all of the above just became second nature to me. Time management is something ingrained into my brain now. I can edit an editorial while composing a media pitch as I am answering to client and media emails as well as picking up and chatting on the phone to a journalist about an angle I may have on one of my clients that I think they may be interested in. It occurred to me that by multi-tasking my hectic, crazy, everyday tasks at my PR job it was a great way to utilize my time. Instead of taking me an entire day to complete 3 tasks, in a day all 15 tasks would be complete and the feeling of self-satisfaction would be intoxicating
Multi-tasking has now leaked into other aspects of my personal life. Wake up in the morning, make my coffee, tidy my bed, do the dishes and hang my laundry, at the end of all of that I now have more time to so whatever it is that needs doing before heading into Active PR for another interesting, fulfilling day at work!.