By Hisham El-Marazki, CEO, PR Gym
What would you do with a free half-day every week? Visit the galleries and museums you fly past on your daily commute? Drive to the coast and take a clifftop walk? Or just go to the playground with your children?
Let’s face it, none of us would be stuck for fun things to do with an extra half-day. And yet for most of us the idea is little more than an idle fantasy. One day we will have time for culture, exercise, family and so on. Until then the UK’s PR professionals are stuck on an endless treadmill of client meetings, press release writing, media sell-ins, and AVE calculations.
Here are five things every PR professional can do today to save time. Some involve a new (but free or inexpensive) technology or service; others simply require a shift in mindset. Why not pick one and start doing it today?
1) Get someone else to do your AVE calculations (cheaply and accurately)
PR Gym – www.prgym.co.uk – offers a simple, straightforward online system. Users input their coverage, detailing publication, page position, sentiment, use of key messages and so on. The system then calculates AVE and PR Value, and compiles it all into a professional-looking report which the user can generate as and when they need it.
The most obvious benefit of using our service is the time saving. You no longer need to spend days collecting all this information on AVEs, circulation numbers, CPMs and so on. With PR Gym you can do it in a matter of minutes. It is also more accurate. Although technology may be able to gather explicit terms, implicit coverage may be missed as automated machines cannot understand a writer’s wit, style, or a double entendre.
2) Liberate yourself from the inbox
Studies have proven just how addictive e-mail can be. Dr Thomas Jackson of Loughborough University found that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover your train of thought after an email interruption. So if you check your email every five minutes that is 8.5 hours a week you spend trying to remember what you were just doing.
It is time to take action. Turn off notifications so email no longer invades your space. You go to look for it. Resolve to only look at your email twice a day, and let people know that is what you are doing – set up an auto-respond message if necessary. And surprise people by responding to their email with a phone call. It cuts down the number of back-and-forth email exchanges, and will encourage some people to call you next time they need to make contact.
3) Work out what steals your time
For anyone who has worked in an agency, to hear timesheets mentioned in the same breath as time saving might seem odd. For agency staff they are the irritation at the end of the week that stops them completing client work or going home.
Yet, www.toggl.com is a tool that allows you to quickly track what you are spending time on and essentially to produce your own timesheet. Try doing it. You may be surprised at what actually takes up your time. Once armed with this information it should be easy to trim an hour off one of the many time-stealing unimportant activities.
4) Accept that not everything needs to be perfect
Everybody wants to do their best at work. No one likes producing work which is just good enough. Yet, this constant striving for perfection can be highly damaging, not only to our work-life balance, but also to our performance.
If we aim for 100% on everything we do there is no scope to prioritise the most important work or the most urgent tasks. We would be far better off refocusing on what truly matters at work.
So, resolve to assign a priority to each task that lands on your desk. Consider whether it is important or urgent. If both then put it near the top of your to-do list.If neither put it towards the bottom.Ifone but not the other think about when you need to do it.
5) Put the Internet to work for you using
Very few of us use the Internet as time-effectively as we could. We spend hours scanning shopping sites, opening and reopening banking apps, refining our Google search terms and flicking through irrelevant social media updates from people we barely know.
If This Then That – https://ifttt.com – is an ingenious platform that allows you to set up a series of rules so that what is interesting to you on the Internet comes to you rather than you having to go out and find it. For example, you can set a rule so if a photo of you is posted to Instagram you receive a text message. It sounds simple but it can literally save days of online searches.
Which one of those five ideas will you take away and start doing? Each one on their own will save you at least an hour a week. Do all five and you should easily find yourself with an afternoon a week to spare. Then comes the really difficult part of working out how you will spend that afternoon.
About PR Gym
Founded in 2012 by the team behind Phoenixpb, PR Gym aims to bring fun into the world of media evaluation. Its system uses one of the most comprehensive media databases in the UK to provide accurate, real-time reports on media coverage that are quick and easy to generate.
It costs £1200 per year for brands with more than 30 articles to upload each month, or £600 per year for those with fewer than 30 per month. For more information please visit www.prgym.co.uk