If you’re working in public relations, you know the work is not all as glamorous as sometimes presented on TV and movies. There’s a lot of meetings, writing, monitoring, emails, and—more often than not—long hours. The work of a PR professional doesn’t end when he or she leaves the office—PR pros need to stay informed about the current events at all times!
With all the tasks and responsibilities that come with this position, it’s necessary to use the most of your day by boosting productivity levels to their maximum. Luckily for you, there are a lot of tools out there that could help you be more productive and even make time to enjoy the after-work activities.
Here’s a list of some tools you may find very useful.
1. Don’t waste too much time on emails
Do you know that we check our email every 5 minutes on average? That’s 96 times a day! At least that’s what people from Hiri say, and they based this on studies conducted in the area of corporate emailing. Hiri is an email client that will save your precious time with a few simple features.
For example, you can organize your emails based on actions they require. You have two filters for this—Actionable filter for emails that require further actions, and FYI for informational emails. This way you can prioritize and devote your time to handling emails that call for a swift response or some other action on your behalf.
Also, you can drag and drop emails to the “To do” list and create tasks for yourself or even delegate the work with this email client. Calendar, reminders, and contacts list are also available in Hiri, so you will have everything in one place.
Perhaps the most useful feature of Hiri is the reminder NOT to check your emails so often and wait for a given period. Usually, there is really no need to refresh the mailbox every 5 minutes and interrupt what we were doing at the time.
Hiri is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux and there is even a 14-day free trial period so you can easily make sure whether this is the right email client for you.
2. Organize and prioritize your tasks
Having a lot of different tasks during the day can be hard to handle sometimes, especially if you don’t organize them well. Always write down all the tasks you must complete whether they are work related or not. That way you will have an excellent preview of what needs to be done and when.
When you do have all the tasks written down, you may start to panic after seeing how many there are. If you prioritize them and sort them by importance and urgency, you will know where to begin. A great tool that can help with all this is called Week Plan.
Week Plan allows you to list all the tasks for the week and organize them into different groups based on the Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle:
- Important & urgent
- Important & not urgent
- Not important & urgent
- Not important & not urgent
Also, with this tool, you get something called the Parking lot where you write down ideas you want to get back to later, as well as the Pomodoro timer that will help you focus on your tasks. For those of you who don’t know what Pomodoro is (other than tomato in Italian), it’s a time management technique that can gamify your work. It’s based on the 25 + 5 minutes principle. You focus on an individual task for 25 minutes without interruptions and then take a 5-minute break. During those 5 minutes, you should step away from your computer and do something that is not work related, so you can easily focus on the task when your break ends.
3. Block out distractions
Public Relations go together with social media today, but let’s face it—you don’t need to use social media networks all the time. If you need to focus on a certain task but don’t trust yourself not to succumb to online temptations, there are apps that can help you block out any online distractions.
Sometimes we check our social media profiles without even realizing what we are doing. Social media became such a big part of our lives that we need tools to stop us from checking them too often.
A great tool you could use to control yourself is called StayFocusd. It’s a plugin for Google Chrome that limits the time you spend on certain websites or completely blocks others. It’s completely customizable when it comes to sites you want to limit and the time you want to spend avoiding them.
4. Always stay informed about the current events
A PR professional’s job is to know what is going on, so you should always be informed about the current events and news from the industry. We all have our trusted sources of information, and we know how time-consuming it is to check them one by one. That’s what news aggregators do for us—they collect news from different sources and present them to us in one place.
One of the best and most popular news aggregators today is definitely Flipboard. It allows you to choose your areas of interest and topics which you want to receive news on. You can even integrate social media news feeds so the information you get is highly personalized and relevant.
Another great feature of Flipboard is the ability to create your own magazines that can be public or private. This is amazing for organizing blogs and articles based on the subject. You can even add news to your magazines—if you come across an article you find useful and want to save it for further reading or research, you can add it to your magazine.
Flipboard is available for both iOS and Android and in the website form. You can even add the + Flip it button to your browser and make it even easier to save important news and blogs.
If you’re not a fan of Flipboard, there are other similar news aggregators apps you could use like Feedly, SmartNews, Google news, etc.
5. Monitor online media at all times
Media monitoring is one of the most important tasks for any PR professional. You need to know if your client’s name or brand has been mentioned somewhere. In the era of digital media, there are literally millions of pages out there, and there is no way you could monitor each of them like you would do with newspapers and TV shows. Also, your after-work time should be dedicated to relaxation activities.
We all know Google alerts, but a lot of times it’s not enough for Public Relations professionals. A great tool you could use for media monitoring is called Meltwater. This software allows you to track companies, competitors, names, etc. on more than 200,000 blogs, social media platforms, and news publications.
With Meltwater, you can choose to receive reports in a daily digest form or with real-time alerts. Apart from monitoring, you can use it to analyze and distribute information, as well as engage with users. You can request a free demo for this software to see if it fits your PR needs.