As a publicist I have to be able to make and maintain a schedule. Sometimes for myself and sometimes for others. Either way, ignoring a responsibility is not in the job description and so I’m back to blogging everywhere I feel I should. I’m thinking that this is the perfect time to talk about scheduling and keeping commitments you make to not only clients but to yourself as well. But where do we begin?
I think the basic and sometimes the hardest part of the schedule is realizing your limits. Now this isn’t a repeat of the ‘goals’ post but looking at instead the realistic planning that goes into a schedule for yourself and clients. How long do you need for each task? What do you schedule for? How tight can you make it?
The short answer: loosely fill the time with what you know you’ll be able to accomplish and prioritize the most important tasks first.
If you schedule too much in say a day of interviews your client could a) miss an important meeting/interview due to the benign like traffic or b) be too exhausted to perform up to par. Publicity is about being your best and garnering the attention you deserve for doing so. If you are too exhausted from that 25 minute subway ride, that was delayed so you had to run to the interview, to be able to talk you’ve lost your chance and a good opportunity to reach your audience and publicize yourself and your product.
There must always be a contingency plan for the best and worst case scenario because both are likely. It’s sort of like a relay; when you think of scheduling you plan for it all to go well but also for the chance someone drops the proverbial ‘ball’ and you need another plan to pick it back up. I’m trying to think of some good examples but now I’m still on the inexperienced side and don’t have too many juggling experiences to share. But I do have one a former professor enjoyed telling.
She had an author who was new, completely inexperienced with media. The media training began and the schedule had to be light to afford any surprise situations around the media hits. There was an interview her client had to conduct on a morning television show. Very brief intro about herself and about the book, maybe a 3-5 minute slot and then it would be over. All the media training in the world couldn’t prepare them for the earlier act taking too long and suddenly 3-5 minutes became 2-3 and then 2 minutes or less. The author, who was already jittery, was starting to feel the pressure and nearly cracked on camera. Nearly. My professor was lucky in this case, had she been given the full 5 minutes there might have been a mess to clean up but all in all it worked out well. They had to adjust and the schedule was airy enough to give them room to breathe and have a relaxing drink afterwards to calm both their nerves.
But there’s also your own schedule, and this I have much more experience in. I often try to take on too many ‘tasks’ or ‘activities’. You could probably call them hobbies or chores, but whichever they are I have too many and promise myself too much. In an experiment I’m trying something a little more straight forward and treating myself like a client: What can I actually, physically and mentally get done on my epic ‘to-do-list’? Not what I want, but what the client ‘Lisa’ can do and where I can make room for flops, early arrivals and disasters alike.
I need to rank my tasks by what’s most important to me and then work out how they work into my already existing life schedule. Blogging is a good start. I’m making a weekly schedule to try to keep on top of the blogosphere and produce the content I like in the time frame I think is reasonable. In the mix I need to devote considerable time to my new clients at ComixTribe and remember to have fun with family and friends. If I don’t, what’s the point?
This is the beginning of an organizing attempt for this new 26-year-old (My birthday was this weekend and with it I remembered how to have a good time). Here’s to hoping I can keep up this new schedule and continue to please my most important and demanding client; myself.
Do you have any scheduling tips? Geared for publicity or not I’d love to hear them.