The public relations industry is built on smart thinking, strategic planning and excellent client service. As seasoned communicators, we pride ourselves on being nimble, problem-solving powerhouses. But what do we do when we feel like there is no separation between work-life and home-life — a common problem when you’re working in a virtual agency!
While the new year is still fresh, I wanted to share with you the five simple organizational tips which have helped me achieve that elusive work-life balance.
1. Develop and update a forecasting document
Quarterly, create a detailed forecasting document with work projects, deadlines and time allocations. This document will become your bible as it allows you to easily look ahead and determine your bandwidth to take on more. Already maxed? Accept that and don’t take on anything else.
2. Plan ahead
One of the benefits of working for a virtual agency is the flexibility of interspersing business-related tasks and meetings with other obligations. However, if you have a full workload, realize that the lunchtime trip to the grocery store will result in working in the evening hours. With the help of your forecasting document, plan your week on Sunday evening and determine where errands can fit in, if anywhere. If they can’t, don’t be afraid to outsource!
3. Google Calendar is your BFF
While paper agendas are beautiful, the digital age is here and online calendars are simply more efficient. Use Google Calendar to track your life – personal and work. Colour coding, reminders and sharing functions makes it easy to stay on top of everything. Planning a family activity? With Google Calendar you can send invites to your partner so there is no, “I didn’t know” excuse!
4. The 10 minute wrap-up
At the end of every work day spend 10 minutes writing out tomorrow’s to-do list. It is the last thing you want to tackle at the end of the day but it will ensure you start the next morning organized and on task.
5. Day is done
Pending deadlines, try and end your workday at the same time every day. As a work-from-home professional it is so easy to tap away at your laptop all night long but it is important to put it away and live “life”. A simple trick is to leave your laptop in a different room, that way there’s no temptation. The same goes with your work email, do you NEED to respond to it tonight? If the answer is no, flag it and address it in the AM when you’re back at your desk.