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12 Daily Must-Dos for PR & New Media Pros (Plus a Challenge)

By Tiffany Monhollon

In my new role, social media is officially a part of my title. And so is managing. These two things along would be plenty to fill the week, but right now, the demands of time mean there’s also a lot more on my plate. Since corporate communications is the other part of my job, I spend a great deal of time on internal and external communications, media relations, and content and project management. Oh, and don’t forget the meetings!

So, I’m putting a plan together that will help me manage my daily tasks better and make more productive use of pockets of unplanned time. I’ll be using three tactics:

  1. Daily Dozen (idea adapted from John Maxwell: mine focuses on workday).
  2. Custom Action Item List
  3. Monthly Goal Meetup

My Daily Dozen

Social Media
Since social media content, monitoring, and management often gets pushed aside in favor of larger deadlines, immediate requests, and long-term projects, it’s something I am putting squarely on my plate each day. Now, when I have small portions of time, I can go to these items and get them checked off the list more often.

1. Monitor news, Google Alerts, digital media clips & HARO
2. Check and update company Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn
3. Interact or connect with 5 people in social media
4. Approve / respond to comments on company blog

Editorial
My team is responsible for nine monthly-to-weekly publications, so editing is a major part of my job. We also help with the editing process for our marketing and advertising team to make sure everyone’s on the same page editorially. So, every day, I edit anywhere from 3-15 articles, publications, ads, or collateral pieces. I must admit, keeping up with this pile is one of my biggest challenges these days. Sometimes, just keeping up with the content is so overwhelming, I miss out on opportunities to encourage the learning mentality, the writing and research process for my team because it’s not built into my daily routine. So I’m putting these editorial duties squarely on my list:

5. Edit content
6. Read an article, participate in a live chat online, or attend a webinar
7. Share articles, tips or ideas with team or leadership

Big Picture
Managing all these daily tasks and keeping up with action item lists ongoing is enough to keep my busy. But it’s also critical to take some time in each day to focus on the big picture. This includes follow-up with customers, keeping my team in the loop, keeping myself on task with projects, deadlines, and meetings, and taking time to see how it all fits together. So, here are the big-picture things I want to take time for each day:

8. Follow-up on e-mails, phone calls, requests from customers and media contacts
9. Check in with / encourage my team
10. Manage my action item list
11. Intentional, unscheduled time to reflect, brainstorm, or make decisions

Projects, Meetings & Follow-Up
Managing projects, meetings, deadlines, and follow-up is another big part of every day. To keep track of all the action going on in my day, from meetings to deadlines to project action items, I use a daily action item list, a GTD hack I’ve built for myself to make the system work for me. This is the most difficult part of the day to manage, since the work I need to take action on varies from weekly or monthly deadlines to new projects and proposals. But it’s also critical, because it can be so easy to get bogged down in the rest of the day and miss out on the opportunity to move. So, to make it simple, this last part of my daily dozen is broad yet energizing to me:

12. Take action

You can download a template of my daily/weekly action-item list at the end of this post if you’d like to check it out. Items on this list include I need to accomplish that day or week, like:

Tracking Success

Since I created this daily dozen for myself last week, I have been pleasantly surprised. I’ve managed to accomplish each of these 12 things (yes, including the action!) every day. And interestingly enough, it hasn’t made me compromise on deadlines or projects. Instead, I feel like I’m making better use of the spare minutes that tend to accumulate, or focusing more on each item as I tackle it instead of letting my attention wander or succumbing to the pressure to multitask. And that gives me incredible daily momentum.

But, I know myself, and over time I’m curious how this system will evolve. So, I’m going to audit my time every once in a while to hold myself accountable and keep track. Several years ago, I created a form I use for this. I break the day down into manageable chunks (30 minutes or so) and chart my progress as I go along. You can download and customize a copy of the chart if you’d like to try this for yourself.

What will success look like? I am hoping this daily dozen will help me better manage my work so I can accomplish some of the goals I’ve set up for myself this September, a part of the new monthly goal meetup my friend Rebecca is putting together for emerging leaders to use as an extra-employment accountability, encouragement, and ideation group.

September Career/Life Goals

1. Read a book devoted to spiritual growth.
2. Make more time for friends and family, celebrating my sister’s upcoming marriage.
3. Create launch plan for new comm program (launching in October)
4. Create a monthly writing and blog outreach plan.
5. Determine plan for completing master’s degree.

The lines between work and life are continually blurred for me. But I see these goals not as distinct phenomena. They’re all related, because they’re all very important – to me. When I’m more in tune with my spiritual needs, I’m better in relationships, at home and at work. When I’m more productive – and aware it – at work, I feel more energized and confident to accomplish my personal goals. When I’m sharing ideas and connecting with people, I am learning and growing more equipped at work.

So, this is where I’m starting, in this now. Will it change, will it evolve? Time will tell. But simply the process of creating and using this daily dozen has already proven to me the power of intentionality. I’m confident these short-term goals will do the same.

The Challenge: Your Daily Dozen

Do these daily tasks hit home with you? Motivated to create your own daily dozen? Simply post them in the comments section or, better yet, post your own daily dozen to your blog and share your post with me by linking to this post or sharing the link in the comments section. Next month, I’ll feature a roundup of all the daily dozen posts that participate! If you want to talk about this idea on Twitter, use #dailydozen and spread the word!

GTD Tip: I formatted and printed my daily dozen and put it in a clear plastic presentation cover so I can mark off each task with a dry-erase marker as I get them done.

Free Stuff

By Tiffany Monhollon | September 10, 2009

Topics: Blogging, Do This, Goals, Leadership, Productivity, Social Media, Time Management, Tips, Work |

20 Responses to “12 Daily Must-Dos for PR & New Media Pros (Plus a Challenge)”

  1. Lance Haun Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Tiffany,

    This is awesome. Thanks for the resource. I too moved into a position where social media is on my plate and I am glad other people have difficulty making it a part of what they do on a daily basis.

    Congrats on the promotion. I obviously missed that part but well deserved I am certain.

  2. Leslie Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Wow, this makes me tired just looking at it!

    I work in a very different industry (corporate training) so face time with my clients is the most important part of my day. However, managing information and marketing and planning and email are all things that I do as well, and a list like yours might help me do it with more efficiency and accountability.

    I agree with Lance. Thanks for sharing this resource and congratulations on the promotion.

  3. Kellie Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Social media has become a more regular part of my routine in the last year — as well as a new baby and additional responsibilities with a volunteer organization! I feel like I’m always struggling with how to fit it all in. You laid out a really tangible, straight-forward way to get it all done. Great advice. And congrats on your promotion!

  4. Nisha Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I can definitely relate to how hard it is to fit in little things like keeping on top of email, monitoring HARO emails (been trying to get more into those lately!). I definitely agree it’s important not to let those things fall by the wayside in favor of larger deadlines and projects. Your daily dozen idea looks great! :)

  5. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    @ Lance - Thanks! And congrats to you as well! I think especially in this job market and economy, when so many of use have roles that are more both/and, it’s important to figure out not just how to get more done, but to do it in ways we can demonstrate to others too. I shared this idea with my team, and I’m curious which ones will use it. I shared it with my boss, which helped her understand more about how I’m spending my time each day, which is important, since my new job is something we’re defining as we go along. So, consider that too. How can an honest look at your day’s full work be communicated to other people? I don’t think we can underestimate the value in that.

    @ Leslie - Consistency is definitely part of it, but I like that you mention accountability too. I put this together for myself last week, just to print out and keep around. But then I realized, my team, my boss, and my readers could maybe benefit from it too. So why not share? That gives me multiple layers of accountability, and even though this list might change or evolve, I like the idea that I can hold myself to this daily challenge!

    @ Kellie - Hope you find it of use! If you create a daily list, whether it’s a dozen things or not, I’d love for you to share with us!

    @ Nisha - I tried to distill this down to the basics, all those things I kept thinking, man, I wish I had more time to stay on top of that, just to see what the challenge would look like. One thing I love about this plan is the immense feeling of satisfaction I get at the end of each workday. I can look at this list and see exactly what I accomplished, where before, when I was only using my action item sheet (which is always chock full) if I only got one or two things crossed off (because I was really doing a lot of these things on my daily dozen), I felt sort of demoralized about what I got done.

  6. Priyanka D Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    daily tips for social media is pretty good.. many people have a heard time consistently staying with social media activities.

  7. Pankaj Says:
    September 16th, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Thanks for the amazing tips! In this digital age, with a thousand things bearing on your attention in a day, organizing yourself is the hardest part.

  8. Lindsey Sparks Says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Tiffany - You inspired me to finally do this exercise. I posted my daily dozen on my blog: http://lindseysparks.blogspot.com/. I combined personal and work for now, but may have to get more specific and break them apart eventually. I stole your sheet protector idea too.

  9. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 8:40 am

    @ Lindsey - So glad this is inspiring people to action! I like how you’ve combined personal and work, because it’s so easy to get bogged down by work that you stop making progress on the personal goals.

    Thanks for sharing!

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