Prioritizing Today’s To-Dos: Eat a Frog, Write a Press Release, Post a Tweet

Posted on July 28, 2015

Prioritizing Today’s To-Dos: Eat a Frog, Write a Press Release, Post a Tweet

By Allen Haynes, Director, Public Relations

November and December aren’t just busy shopping seasons; they’re two of the busiest months for the public relations industry with crucial assignments and tight turnaround times. Racing to meet deadlines is not the most enjoyable feeling in the world, but whether it’s writing a new business proposal, pitching press releases or putting together a content strategy, every PR professional has to learn the art of juggling deadlines.

Delivering work on time strengthens your reputation as a professional and builds credibility as a dependable, reliable resource. Below are a few Duffey-approved techniques to strengthen deadline skills. 

Eat the frog first
Mark Twain once said, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." Prioritize your high-level action items for the morning when you have the most energy, can think creatively and when the coffee is the freshest. This helps ensure your work has ample time to be refined to its most compelling state.
Go old school. Write your tasks down on paper and keep them in front of you
It seems simple. OK, it is simple, but having a tangible reminder of your priorities is a proven approach to ensure deadlines are met. Whether you do it daily or weekly, having a list of action-items helps us manage our time and keeps us focused on our tasks without worrying about in-the-weeds items that may arise. 

Less is more
Deadlines are usually missed because we have so much on our to-do lists that it’s nearly impossible to complete all the assignments on time. Carving your to-do lists down to the essentials and enlisting other team members to help on less-critical items helps make sure the work requiring your skillset is executed well. 

Due tomorrow? Do tomorrow. WRONG!
Accurately assessing how much time you’ll need to complete a task can be difficult. In fact, we’re more likely to underestimate the time required for a project, which can prove problematic and result in a frantic race to complete a job. Understanding the tasks at hand and setting reasonable expectations is a good way to ensure deadlines are met on time. 

Set realistic expectations and manage them
Often, the most important work you’re doing is the most recent item that’s been assigned. Relaying a realistic timeline goes a long way in building a lasting, transparent client-firm relationship. When determining a reasonable deadline, consider how much research may be required, how many layers of editing are necessary and who all will need to approve it. Some items may only take an hour while others require a week or two. It seems obvious, but clearly communicating what you’re working on and what a project entails is paramount in agency life. 

Whether a project is due today, tomorrow or in a few weeks, eating your frog first and implementing these Duffey-approved techniques to your deadline juggling act will help ensure your work is completed on time, every time.  


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