In the 15 or so years I’ve been working in PR I’ve done the typical PR activities as well as a host of other activities. Years ago I worked with a colleague who while we were carrying in equipment and other supplies for a client at a trade show told me he didn’t like to carry things. I smiled at his statement, until it became evident that his dislike of carrying things translated to his expectation that I was going to carry his portion of the booth supplies.
I was quick to point out that while I didn’t mind helping the client that didn’t mean that I was going to do all the work for him.
Recently, a similar occurrence took place. While discussing a client project and putting together a strategy for the project, at the end of the discussion a colleague said, “these are all really good suggestions, will somebody please e-mail me these recommendations? I don’t like to take notes and I’ll never remember all of this.”
In both of these examples, the colleagues involved lost my respect as well as the respect of clients and other colleagues. These stories have been shared countless times since, not only by myself, but also by others that witnessed them and, unbeknownst to these colleagues, caused even more damage to their reputations.
Over the course of my career in PR, I’ve heard colleagues complain about certain aspects of PR they don’t like. It ranges from pitching the media to writing. In one instance, while interviewing a potential job candidate, the candidate said she didn’t like to write and admitted that she wasn’t a very good writer.
In my experience, everybody has certain aspects of their job they don’t necessarily like to do. In these instances, these tasks are often put on the back burner, put off until the last possible minute or sometimes totally forgotten about and never completed.
In order to avoid forgetting these types of tasks altogether or becoming a burden to others, as in the examples listed above, here are five tips to help accomplish these activities quickly and effectively.
- Plan in advance: When I get into the office every morning I review and create a list of the tasks I need to accomplish. This list includes both small and large tasks and allows me to identify and prioritize the tasks most pressing or that have specific deadlines assigned to them. It allows me to plan my day and decide how I want to accomplish what needs to get done. Often, after identifying and addressing the tasks with deadlines, I’ll plan on tackling the tasks I enjoy the least. I’ll also plan on doing some of these things early to avoid feeling added pressure to accomplish unpleasant tasks under duress late in the day.
- Set deadlines: Nothing drives like a deadline. I find I work better when I have a specific deadline to complete a project. I experience a similar response when I set a deadline for the tasks I enjoy the least. In my mind a deadline is serious and something that can’t be missed. With that in mind, I set deadlines for unpleasant tasks, complete them and then feel better about having accomplished them.
- Start with the unpleasant tasks first: I sometimes find it easier to start with my least favorite activities to simply get them out of the way. In the mornings I tend to feel more motivated and have more energy making it easier to address and accomplish unpleasant activities. Once these activities are completed and out of the way, I can focus on other, more enjoyable tasks.
- Be flexible: Allow some wiggle room for accomplishing unpleasant tasks. Other deadlines or more pressing assignments may come up unexpectedly during the day. In these cases it’s nice to be able to push or delay these unpleasant tasks. By allowing this type of flexibility it eliminates undue stress while allowing you to accomplish more time sensitive projects.
- Reward yourself for accomplishing these tasks: I know a guy that used to take these types of unenjoyable tasks first and upon completion would go get himself a donut or some other treat to reward himself, clear his mind and get ready for the rest of the day. His reward trips became fun for everybody because he’d invite colleagues to go with him and give everybody a nice break or he’d buy enough of his treat to share with the team. Either way, he won and the rest of his colleagues were rewarded as well.
It’s important to find what works best for you and what makes accomplishing even the most unpleasant tasks bearable, if not even a little fun. By accomplishing even the most inane and boring tasks you’ll be a more complete employee and add more value to your team. The more value you add the more valuable you become as an employee and co-worker. You’ll gain the respect of your colleagues and, in the long run, earn more respect, more desirable opportunities and ultimately more money from your employer.
Jeremy Kartchner is a Partner at Snapp Conner PR and has more than 15 years experience in both technology and sports PR. In addition to his responsibilities with Snapp Conner PR, Kartchner also works with the Utah Jazz as a member of its Game Night public relations staff where he is responsible for tracking and providing game time statistics for local, national and international media and conducting pre and post game player and coach interviews. He’s a sports fan, golfer, father of three, husband to one hottie, partially bionic, cavity free, Olympics junkie and wanna be blogger.
Author: Jeremy Kartchner | Google+