Each year, ‘Public Relations Executive’ appears on the list of The Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs in the US. And, each year, I ask myself why nobody warned me about this little list when I was choosing my career. Just kidding, I love my job –but, us PR people need to relax. From my experience, I’ve identified the following as top stress factors with some tips for taking the edge off next year.
1. Plan and prioritize. On a typical day, you probably find yourself doing ten things at once. While this can be overwhelming, planning can help lighten the load. I’ve found that setting a goal for the week or day makes it easier to prioritize. I’ve also learned to accept that no matter how many checks go down on my to-do list, there will always be something left to do. While us PR pros can juggle a lot, it’s important to know when to stop. It’s okay to push some things to tomorrow (as long as it’s not past deadline, of course).
2. Quality over quantity. They say PR never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Eight efficient hours in the office are more valuable than 12 tired or distracted ones. While PR might not be your typical nine to five job, you can find a balance that works for you. With our office being on the Atlanta Beltline, a 20 minute walk in the fresh air will clear my head or get my creative juices flowing. What fuels you? Get out of the office. Go for a walk. Rejuvenate. Studies show you’ll be more productive if you do.
3. Stick with it. PR pros deal with a lot of uncertainty, like never knowing if or when a media pitch will be picked up. And with journalists receiving hundreds of emails a day, how do you make yours stand out? While it’s easy to fear rejection, nothing will happen if you don’t try. Do your research and be confident in your ideas. And, when you get turned down, take it with a grain of salt.
4. Embrace change. We work in an industry that’s ever-changing, with new technology popping up left and right. I find that just when I master a program, there’s already something next in line. Clients’ goals, messages and expectations are also constantly changing. While this is a challenge, it’s also what makes our jobs exciting. The next time you’re frustrated, think how boring it would be to work somewhere where you did the same thing every single day. I know, I’d choose a little stress over that!