Are PR tools saving time or wasting time?

PR professionals have access to an incredible selection of tools, on-the-go apps and Cloud-based software systems to help them do their jobs better. Even though these automated PR tools offer the illusion of saved time, many PR professionals have found that they are becoming less – not more – productive.

A study by HubSpot found that the more tools workers had at their disposal, the less efficient they were with their time.

In today’s hyper-connected workplace, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you have to take on everything at once. The problem is that, without knowing where to start, it’s hard to get anything done at all. We need to find a method that allows us to focus without cutting ourselves off from the technology that is designed to make work easier.

We reached out to experts to find out the answer to our tech-induced woes, and were surprised to find out it’s the age-old foe of the workforce: procrastination.

What is ‘positive procrastination’?

‘Procrastination’ is a word that sends shudders down the spines of those trying to be productive. But, according to the author to John Perry, that’s because many people are doing it wrong.

In his book, The Art of Procrastination, Perry explains the difference between the two types of procrastination:

  1. Negative procrastination – This is an unstructured form of procrastination that causes us to put things off because we don’t want to do them, often landing us in hot water..
  2. Positive procrastination – Positive procrastinators schedule tasks to do at a later date, and instead focus on the smaller but more urgent tasks in the present.

Perry believes that positive procrastination enables us to leverage the ‘get on with it’ attitude we have when approaching a deadline, helping workers sustain high levels of productivity without feeling disorganised.

Four tips for embracing positive procrastination in PR

  1. Get all of your ‘to dos’ in one place – Jot down everything that’s on your mind in a list. Then, determine which of these tasks are urgent, and which aren’t.

  2. Schedule and commit to important tasks in the long term – Whilst you should focus on your urgent tasks in the short-term, schedule important tasks in your calendar. Productivity guru Dave Crenshaw, in his LinkedIn series Time Management Tips, suggests scheduling time for yourself to complete those tasks close to their deadline, giving yourself a little extra time for any unforeseen circumstances.

  3. Eliminate ‘maybe’ tasks – Crenshaw suggests putting all “maybe” tasks on a ‘maybe’ list that is separate from your calendar. By not committing to these tasks, you buy yourself time to figure out whether they’re actually worth doing or not.

  4. Schedule downtime – By scheduling downtime, you give yourself permission to unwind and space for those creative ideas. Plus, you’re less likely to let that habit of mind-wandering interfere with your productive time. Karin Peeters, a psychotherapist at Inner Pilgrim, says “You need to allow things to unfold without controlling the outcome. Go for a walk, take a nap, listen to birdsong. In this space of positive procrastination, new ideas will bubble up from deep within.”

Put the ‘PRO’ in procrastination

Understanding how you can use your urge to procrastinate to your advantage will transform the way you work. You’ll be more prepared, less stressed and far more effective in your attempts to clear that ever-growing to-do list.

Written by Brian Johnson, operations director at recruitment firm Forward Role