The Balancing Act
Modern women are expected to not only have their cake and eat it, but bake it from scratch and make sure it’s gluten-free. That’s why when people ask me what I do, I usually come up with some long and drawn out explanation but I should probably just say that I juggle for a living. No, I’m not a traveling circus performer passing through town. I am a Newton O’Neill publicist, graphic/blog designer, freelance writer, blogger and occasional domestic goddess (ha!). I can’t even imagine throwing motherhood into the mix. Working mamas, you are amazing…I bow down to you. Right now, I’ve got my hands in a lot of different cookie jars and I like it that way. My philosophy? Having multiple jobs is by far less stressful than having none. I’ve been there, and wasn’t a fan at all. I have no doubts that my initial passion for PR – and the skills acquired from the job – has been part of what has paved the way for me to be able to manage my seemingly schizophrenic career.
1. PR requires hyper-organization.
Oh Excel/Evernote, what would I do without you? I would have zillions of loose papers and biz cards flying around, that’s for starters. In PR, managing lists, contacts, names and databases is a huge part of the job. Emails are flying around at the speed of light, and coming up with a system to categorize and organize your materials are key. Whether it’s digital, physical or mental (highly recommend not keeping mental notes though – my brain space is crammed as is), find a method that works for you and stick to it.
2. PR demands that you stay on top of it.
We live in a world of now – things are constantly moving and changing. News is delivered instantly, new apps are constantly being released, social outlets are rapidly expanding, new trends are emerging, and clients expect more. You have to be the one that is ahead of the curve, and that often means learning entirely new skills that you didn’t have before. It is challenging and stimulating, and one of the best ways to improve yourself, your resume and opportunities. Never stop learning!
3. There is never a dull moment in PR.
Working two jobs is exciting – it keeps you on your toes. There is a constant flow of fresh faces, emails (love/hate relationship there), responsibilities, to do’s, clients and collaborations. While there are a slew of other issues that can come up with working multiple gigs, boredom isn’t one of them.
4. Think creatively.
Scheduling your time so your worlds don’t collide in a thunderous crash can get a bit tricky. The work/personal time line is often hazy, and that is something I really struggle with. Sometimes, I come up with ideas that get the royal ‘eye ball roll’ treatment (like date night picking out paint colors at Home Depot) and other times I get a high five. You just have to keep experimenting, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
5. Multi-tasking is my middle name.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you take a second to look at the big picture, and see hundreds of balls flying around in the air. It can look like complete mayhem, but once you find that rhythm and flow in the chaos, it’s a feeling of pure delight. Focus on one thing at a time, and dedicate your full attention to that action item. One helpful tip? Set a timer – and don’t let yourself get distracted from the task at hand until that timer goes off.
These days, it seems like everyone is juggling in some form or another with their own ways to cope. Do I drop the ball sometimes? Hate to say it, but yes I do….the important thing is that you pick it up and keep moving forward. How do you manage your multi-faceted career?
PS I hear a big glass of wine at the end of the day also helps. Cheers!