October is officially over and with that, the start of my favorite month begins: November. Aside from it being the unofficial start of the holiday season, it’s also the month of my birthday, wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving. Rather than be stressed about how much I have going on, I like to relish this time of year: all of these special days make me reflect on how much I have to be grateful for.
While not everyone has such a busy November as I do, I figured it would be a good time to talk balance. With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas all nearing closer, many PR professionals are starting to feel the pressure of things unknown (How will it all get done? What if things happen while I’m enjoying time with my family?). Here are a few of my best practices for making sure that when it comes time for special celebrations, pumpkin pies or family functions, you can rest assured that all of your work is done (and done right).
- Write it all down. Keep an old-school paper calendar at your desk where every pitch is just a glance away. Knowing what’s coming this week AND what’s coming down the pipeline a month from now (when visions of turkey and sweet potato casserole are dancing in your head) will help keep you focused until it’s time to feast.
- Remember that editors take breaks, too. Make sure nothing is scheduled to go out to press the week of Thanksgiving, keeping in mind that a lot of the media contacts that you communicate with will also be spending time with friends and family during this time; utilize the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the holiday for follow-ups and facilitation in order to save everyone’s sanity (including your own).
- Set an out of office alert. Yes, in our profession we have to be available at a moment’s notice for our clients, but having time to celebrate with your loved ones is essential for your happiness. Let your clients and media know ahead of time that you will be out and that you will respond to any urgent emails within the day (for last minute interview opportunities and the like); otherwise, let them know you’ll get back to them post-turkey coma.
- Be proactive. In the days before you head out for your vacation or staycation, make sure every last item on your client’s radar is taken care of. That means make the extra effort to send that latest pitch, deliver any new updates and tie up every last detail with a neat little bow so that when it comes time to hit the road, you don’t have a worry in the world (and neither does your client). Sure, things may come up, but leaving the office with a clean plate will leave you feeling light and ready for relaxation.
Do you have any other holiday leave practices that work for you? Share what you know in a comment below.