Virtual workspace time management tips

By: Emma Bumgarner

Your time as a PR pro or pro in training is valuable, so knowing how to spend it wisely is pivotal to success in the field.

As we approach nearly a year since shifting to virtual learning and remote workspaces, I feel it’s important to revisit some time-management tips. Organizing calendars and deadlines with healthy ways to balance the work-home lifestyle is already overwhelming without everything being strictly online. Your time as a PR pro or pro in training is valuable, so knowing how to spend it wisely is pivotal to success in the field. 

Use different calendars for different things

Personally, I find peace of mind in using three different types of calendars for planning; each with a slightly different purpose. Writing in a planner is a good way to keep track of daily tasks and small deadlines. Something I’ve made a habit of doing is prioritizing and listing my to-do’s and crossing them out once I’ve completed them to help make the list less daunting to look at. When it comes to weekly meetings, I turn to virtual calendars. Having a weekly layout of all my different meetings on the screen in front of me helps me to visualize my free time slots where I know I can step away from the screen. With virtual calendars, you can label the meeting type, sync the calendar between your phone and laptop, and set up notifications to remind you of your meeting starting. The final calendar I use is a wall calendar that holds birthdays, fun events and big deadlines. With this calendar hanging right by my desk, I’m able to visually see upcoming events. Giving different types of calendars different purposes ensures that I’m keeping up-to-date and prioritizing my time better. 

Start early to boost daily productivity

One way to optimize day-to-day productivity is by preparing the night before to get ahead the next day. Waking up early isn’t always easy, especially not when going from home to work or class now involves getting up out of bed and walking a few steps to your desk. Getting to bed at a reasonable time and setting a nighttime routine to help wind-down mentally and physically prepares the body for sleep, which can result in a more restful sleep and ease with awakening in the morning. An article by Meredith L. Eaton on MuckRack brings attention to limiting or turning off notifications and shutting down some social or communication platforms to help you step away. While the article itself focuses on general organizational tips for the PR pro, I like to incorporate these tips at the end of my day so I don’t feel mentally overloaded the next morning. Another thing I make a point of doing is closing all of my tabs at the end of the night and silencing my phone. When you’re able to sleep well, you can wake up easier and give yourself the needed time to get situated and feel fully prepared for the day. 

Communicate to keep yourself on track

It’s no secret that those in the PR field are often multitasking or have various tasks to attend to. Checking in with peers or colleagues about projects, simple tasks and big, hard deadlines is essential to keeping others and yourself on track. Even just sending yourself or your team a few deadline reminders can help keep the tasks at hand fresh in your mind so that you’re more likely to remember to do them. Setting deadline reminders that pop-up as notifications on your phone is also a great way to communicate to-do’s to yourself. Communicating to yourself and to others what you’ll be working on is a way to hold yourself accountable to the work you need to complete. 

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