Public Relations and the Need for Organization

Posted by on July 17th, 2013

I recently visited my friend’s apartment – she had just found a Craigslist roommate to fill a vacant room and wanted someone to come over and gawk at all the stuff the new girl had dumped off.  When I arrived, there were trash bags piled high in the living room, miscellaneous kitchenware scattered around and a closet (that isn’t hers) jam packed with bags.  The girl’s lease doesn’t start for another two weeks so the sheer amount of stuff and the disarray she left the place in was a bit astounding.

“What’s this girl’s deal?”  I asked my friend.                                                                                                                                 “All I know about her is that she works for some PR firm,” she responded.

I found this very interesting.  Don’t get me wrong – moving is always a mess, but entering an apartment like a twister and leaving stuff everywhere with no rhyme, reason, or sense of organization didn’t seem like a very PR-person thing to do.

Which brings me to my point: PR professionals usually have to be hyper organized (or at least have their own system that makes sense to them) in order to get their job done efficiently and get it done well.  This doesn’t mean that all of our desks are neat and we all have OCD-style checklists – although some of us do which is totally acceptable and shouldn’t be mocked – but there has to be a sense of order to juggle clients and projects and make it through the day without getting an aneurysm.

Some of my colleagues have their own systems which have worked out well for them. In order to work my best, I choose to be super organized.  Some general organizational things that help me get through the day:

  • To Do List – Love it or hate it, the To Do List is one of the best ways to organize and prioritize items that have to get done in a day. It’s hard to forget to write a press release when it’s staring at you in your notebook all day waiting to be checked off.

  • Folders – Although we’re increasingly moving to all communications being digital, we haven’t gotten rid of the paper trail just yet.  Create a different folder for each account you are on and file away papers once you’re done. Next time you’re looking for something you won’t spend hours searching for one piece of paper,

  • Email Inbox – I’m a big fan of the “Inbox Zero” school of thought – once you address an email, file it away or delete it so that you’re inbox is as clean as possible; I personally get stressed when I have more than 10 emails in there. One way to do this is to create folders for each account you work on (similar to above but in the digital realm) and file something away when complete.  It will be easy to locate afterward and will give you a chronological list of items that you accomplished which can help with weekly and monthly reporting. 

Everyone has different ways of organizing their professional lives to best complete tasks and address client needs – the important thing is that there is some method to your madness that you understand. As KCSA’s resident obsessive compulsive inflicted team member, I find the above tactics extremely helpful, but to each his own. Just kindly don’t leave trash bags in or around the vicinity of my office – my head will explode.