PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

My Spring Break

Last week was MSU‘s spring break and contrary to popular belief, I did take the week off. That’s right – no work, meetings or even PRSSA… OK, just a little bit of that. But still, it was nice to finally have some time off to relax.

With all of the new online tools, it’s easy to get lost in work. And with some big exams/midterms coming up, it’s even harder for me to stay away from the computer. I’ll be the first to admit that it was really difficult, but I’m proud to say I learned some important lessons. More than just learning how to step away, I learned a lot of balance. Here’s how I did it:

  • I limited myself online. I went online for about an hour a day, mostly because I normally steal my neighbor’s wireless and it wasn’t working. Needless to say, it was interesting. Between work and school I end up online a lot, so I had plenty of time to get out and enjoy not being connected to the rest of the world. Even though I missed some earthquakes and scandals, it felt great.
  • I made small goals for each day. Instead of cramming at the end of break (like I normally would have done), I completed a couple of smaller tasks each day. For the bigger projects, I broke them up and tackled pieces each day. By the end of break, I had a lot done. I even stayed offline for the entire day yesterday.
  • I scheduled some personal time. Whether it was getting caught up in the reading for the PR Book Club, or taking a nap or even getting caught up with friends, I managed to make sure I had fun every day. Hey, I do this at school already, but I want to get better at making sure I have personal time every day.
  • I studied without my laptop. And I got a lot of studying done in a shorter period of time. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to me. Normally, I’m rocking some Beethoven symphonies with my e-mail open and have my books/notes open. This week I’ll test this out while I’m studying for these exams.

Overall, it was about making my time more efficient and balanced. My new goal is to focus more on each individual task and not to get distracted with other things. And what do you know, Pick the Brain has the perfect post for me today. I’ll blog about this soon. Next step – turn off my phone. We’ll see if that ever happens.

How do you get away from work and commitments? And how do you balance working on multiple projects at the same time?

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Time Management from a College Kid

Behold the life of a college student: figuring out what we want to do with the rest of our lives, being active in student organizations, getting a job and trying to find time to cook a decent meal all in one day. Oh yeah, going to class occasionally.

Going into my third year of college, I have learned a lot about time management and prioritizing. Here’s a couple of tips on time management I’ve learned so far:

1. When something comes up, whether it’s e-mail or a quick phone call or even something that requires research, take care of it. Not tomorrow or the next day. Today. Right now.

Chris Brogan wrote a great blog post that inspired me to change up my e-mail practices, and this can be applied to other things as well. It comes down to processing your incoming e-mail upon receipt. That means your either read it and archive/delete it, reply with the appropriate response or forward it on to the next person. People appreciate a quick and accurate response, so making sure that you have thoroughly analyzed the message is essential. Not all of us work on a computer all day, so leaving yourself time to get things done on the to do list is a good idea.

It all comes back to my favorite life quote: if not now, when?

2. Get a job. Yes, you too, freshmen.

Maybe it’s my workaholic tendencies, but I find that having a job, along with having a full class load, gives my day the structure it needs. I have three classes on Monday, four on Wednesday, and two on Tuesday and Thursday. It totals up to right around 15 hours of class per week, give or take a few. Besides studying, what would I do with my time without a job?

Look around campus, no matter where you are. There are jobs no matter what field you want to go into. And hey, who can’t use a few extra bucks?

3. Don’t say “no” because you are too busy.

Turning down an opportunity might hurt you in the long run. If you are asked to serve on a committee or help out with an event, see how you can get involved. Remember, you don’t always need to be the leader; serving in all levels on teams will make you a more rounded professional.

Making time for others is key. If you don’t have enough hours in the day, it might be time to see if you are using your time wisely.

4. Spending time on school is important too. But not too much time.

My roommate, an engineering major, often brags about spending 14 hours studying for an exam. Usually that includes a couple hours worth of video games, but that’s beside the point. My point is that you need to be efficient about how you study. I have operated under the belief that two hours worth of efficient studying is much more worth it than staring at notes for hours on end. It’s working out for me.

Just as you would be in the PR world, it’s important to minimize wasted time and maximize on efficiency. During my internship at John Bailey & Associates this summer, I learned a lot about how the company billed clients. I also learned the value of working on the clock for someone else- my work was included in the monthly billing to clients. I know that I would not appreciate someone playing on Facebook all day, so since this internship, I have worked on doing what I’m supposed to me doing (such as reading) and avoiding distractions (Facebook, anyone?).

5. Having fun is important too.

Especially this year, I sometimes find myself caught up knee-deep with so much to do. It’s OK to take a night (or two if you’re really brave) and relax from work.

What am I missing? Any thoughts or feedback?

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