Five Tasks Communicators Should Have on their “To Do” List Every Day

Spring’s motivating warm weather – and the fact that the year is a quarter over – makes now an excellent time to reflect on what’s working in your daily routine and what needs to be adjusted. For this blog post, I analyzed my day and identified five habits that typically underpin a successful day at the office. Whether you are a spokesperson, a CEO, a PR professional (or all of the above), these five habits can help you improve your daily routine and accomplish your business goals.

1. Read. Keeping up with the breakneck speed of news is a crucial activity that is easily pushed aside by more urgent tasks. Reading the newspaper for general news or a trade journal for a particular industry can be postponed repeatedly without immediate consequences, but do it enough and your results will begin to show a lack of preparation. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Great ideas are mined from a wealth of knowledge. Forget to read and you’ll have a very shallow mine.

2. Prioritize. I was reminded at a recent lecture here at Cookerly PR about how easy it is to delay important tasks and focus instead on easy or more enjoyable responsibilities, such as responding to email. If you don’t rank the importance of your to-do list, you’ll end up doing what you find easiest while delaying what could be more consequential. Disorganization and lack of deliberation produce stress and mistakes; prioritizing is the answer.

3. Assess. Assessing what did not get done on your list is just as important as making the list in the first place. Throughout the workday – and especially before heading out for the evening – evaluate your progress. For me, having a clear picture of what needs to get done before the end of the day or week puts my mind at ease; I know there won’t be any unwelcome surprises that I could have prevented.

4. Work out. Okay, this one may be aspirational. Making time for a daily workout is difficult, especially if you’re married, have children or a long commute. But, like reading, neglect it and your work will likely suffer. Nothing loosens up writers block like a rush of endorphins from a good workout. If you can’t exercise every day, do it as much as you can. I promise you’ll notice a difference.

5. Contribute. Look for ways to improve your agency. Admittedly, this does not come as naturally to me as it should. I like seeing my to-do list shrink too much; it makes me feel productive. However, investing time in a project for the collective good is a fundamental element of teamwork. Whether you launch a company-wide fitness contest or share a really good pitch, think about how you can help your colleagues do their jobs better. You’ll help yourself in the process.

What would you add to this list? Leave a comment below and share your “must-do” daily activity.

17 Responses to “Five Tasks Communicators Should Have on their “To Do” List Every Day”

  1. Erica warren says:

    Matt, this blog offers excellent ideas for keeping your mind sharp and being successful. Being new to the private sector, I find it a challenge to fit all of these things in, but I know they are critical, especially the exercise and reading. Excellent post to get pumped up for another quarter.

  2. I really enjoyed this article… As PR professionals, it’s hard to make time for ourselves, so I appreciate the emphasis on fine-tuning skills through reading… and fine-tuning our stress level and bodies through exercise.

    Thanks again!

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  1. 5 HABITOS QUE TODO PROFESIONAL DE PR DEBE PRACTICAR A DIARIO | Blog de Mex PR Digital - [...] Matt Cochran es supervisior de cuentas en Cookerly Public Relations.  Twitter@MattCochran. Una versión de este artículo se publicó en Cookerly …
  2. 5 tasks for every PR person’s daily to-do list – Women In PR - […] Matt Cochran is an account supervisor at Cookerly Public Relations. Follow Matt on Twitter@MattCochran. A version of this story originally …

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