We all know PR is a time-consuming, wickedly fast-moving profession. Whether it be silencing your smartphone, using Hootsuite, or getting Google alerts sent to you directly – we want to know: how do you keep the craziness of public relations at bay? How do YOU balance your PR (internship, job, or classes) with your everyday life? With midterms in full swing at Grand Valley this week, it can’t be easy.

We asked our GV PRSSA Content Creation Committee this very question and they replied with tremendous grace and advice. Read on for a young PRo’s handbook on the delicate balance of life and the chaos that PR can be. 

Finding Work-Life Balance in PR; By Ashley Pratt

In today’s busy world, prioritizing between your schoolwork, your personal life, and keeping up with PR can be very challenging. As a student at Grand Valley State University I strive to effectively balance all of these at once. I think it is important to maintain a healthy balance and not let the overwhelming stress of college affect your success. After all, these are supposed to be the best four years of your life!

There are plenty of ways to strike a balance between your personal life and the craziness that is PR. One of the obvious ways of course, is to get involved. How do you know what’s going on if you aren’t involved? As an active member of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I am consistently involved in the public relations market. By immersing myself in the various workshops, agency tours, and events I am consistently updated on what’s going on in the public relations field.

Another way to effectively achieve a balance of your personal life and PR is to be a “mobile worker.” With the emergence of technology today, we are immersed with numerous free applications that we can upload straight to our phones for easy access on the go. My favorite app that I use everyday is the Marketplace Morning Report. As a radio program, Marketplace produces a seven-minute morning broadcast of the day’s business news. This is an easy way to receive updates on the daily news items each morning. There is no excuse that you cannot fit a seven-minute broadcast somewhere in your day. Heck, you can listen to it while you eat your cereal before class.

In addition to Marketplace Morning Report, another way to receive worldly news with a click of a finger is to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. Similar to Marketplace, the Wall Street Journal is an international daily newspaper that emphasizes on business and economic news. Subscriptions for students are always available at over 75 percent off regular rates! As a Grand Valley student you can subscribe to the Wall Street Journal for 15 weeks for a low rate of only $15! This allows you to get access to the journal online, print or via tablet or smartphone. Not to mention, this could also help you impress interviewers with your knowledge of current events and company information. So what are you waiting for? Go subscribe now!

As we all know and are familiar with, PR is all over social media. I encourage you to engage on most, if not all social media platforms. Social media not only helps you keep up with what’s going on in the world but also helps organize your personal life. As an active member of Phi Mu Sorority at Grand Valley State, I get a lot of my information from our social media platforms. Maintaining engagement on my social media accounts allows me to organize upcoming events and goals that I need to accomplish for the week.

All of these little applications could help you maintain a balance between your crazy busy life and the constant updates of PR. Getting yourself involved and taking the extra step to download these useful apps will help tremendously. Just a simple click of a button can inform you on multiple worldly current events and not take up too much time of your daily tasks. Did you download it yet?

A Toolkit for Balancing; By Kayla Foster

One thing I admire about Grand Valley is all of the opportunities it offers to its adverting and PR students. Because of Grand Valley, I am not just a PR student. I am also an intern, an e-board member of GrandPR, and a member of PRSSA (with a part time job on top of that). 

Some people think we’re crazy with the amount of responsibility we take on, but it’s one of the reasons we do what we do. So, how do we do it? 

1. Planners 

            I couldn’t keep straight half of the things I do without my planner. Not only do I use it to keep track of school related events, but my social life as well. I’m never without it. Being organized is key. I highly recommend planners to everyone, not just PR people.  

2. Alarms

            Even with my planner, I am a very forgetful person. To help with that I set alarms on my phone to remind me of important things. Sometimes even things as small as reminding myself of homework I need to work on that day. If you were to look at my phone, I probably have at least five alarms set at all times.

3. Hashtags 

            Of course, there are plenty of #hashtags you can check on Twitter to stay up to date with areas that interest you. However, some of my favorites are hashtags my professors create for specific classes. Many PR profs tweet articles relevant to the class and then use the hashtag. This makes it easy by putting everything in one place.       

I guess what I’m trying to say here is: organization is everything. While taking on all these different things at once can seem scary, I would still recommend you get involved if you haven’t yet. Yes, PR can be hectic at times, but the rewards almost always outweigh the efforts.   

Life & PR; By Kelsey Martin 

Public Relations is a fast paced industry and most of the time it feels like we are doing a million things at once. So how do we manage multiple tasks each day under strict deadlines and still deliver results?

 Midterms are in full swing, so before you begin to pull out your hair, consider following these tips for successful time management.

1)    Write to do lists: I am the queen of this. If you take a step into my cubicle at work there are lists everywhere. With such a full plate between work, internships and school, reminders are the only way to not forget anything.

2)    Make every second count: This seems like a given, but we all know we have waited until the last minute to write a paper, study for a test or complete a task at work. It is so easy to be distracted. Regardless of how often you procrastinate, time management is key.  Make a schedule or keep a planner if you need to.

3)    Get Organized: Having an organized workspace (AND LIFE) is essential. You don’t want to waste time searching for an email, document or files. Spending the time to do so, sure does waste a heck of a lot of time. Clean up your space, stop saving documents to your desktop and find the way that keeps you organized.

4)    Prioritize. You’ve heard many times that you must prioritize.  Let’s be honest, though. Prioritizing can be hard and stressful. I know I struggle with this.  How do you choose between reading an assigned chapter, studying for an exam, writing a paper and still manage to see your friends? I am in constant battle with this. I always have to question my choices and evaluate what order will create the best outcome for me.

Although, these guidelines may seem slightly obvious to you, it’s the best way I keep on track with such a hectic schedule. Adopting a few of these might just do the same for you.

Good luck on Midterms!

Balancing School, PR, & Life; By Sara Lovelace 

I thought it’d be easy to juggle everything in college.  No, I don’t mean bowling pins or bowling balls- I mean school, clubs, work, friends, and my sanity.  There’s a diagram I’ve seen on the Internet, and it basically says you can have only two of three most important parts of college: Good grades, enough sleep, and social life.  Hashtag real talk.  

As a PR student, you can also add “stay in the know about media, local, national, and global news” to that list.  I’m one of the most forgetful people I know, so I utilize every tool I can to help me.  A planner/agenda is the single most important organizational tool anyone can use.  I fill each line with meetings and events, homework, and other important errands and deadlines- all color-coded, of course.  I then put them all in my calendar app on my iPhone, and set alarms to remind me when to be somewhere or when a deadline is approaching.  I also use checklists religiously.  

You’ll find them thumb-tacked to my bedroom walls, sticky-notes in my planner, the Notes app on my phone, or the Stickies app on my laptop desktop.  Lists help me just write out and organize all the chaos in my head, from upcoming test dates to my grocery lists.   Plus crossing things off my list gives me a sense of accomplishment and productivity! It’s important to find out what methods work for you and your crazy schedule!

            It’s hard enough to handle my own daily schedule, but I try to also keep updated on what’s happening outside my personal bubble.  Personally, I think everyone should try to stay up-do-date on current events, even if it’s just a basic understanding.  In Public Relations, knowing what’s going on in the PR world, as well as local and global news is important.  I always have my phone in my hand, so I rely on mostly apps to keep me updated on what’s happening around me.  I have a folder for social media apps like Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn, etc.  Aside from people in my social circle, I also ‘follow’ and ‘friend’ brands and news sources that interest me, like places I’ve gone on Agency Tours and the people I met there, PR firms, CNN, NPR, etc.  This way, I can stay updated on what they are doing with almost no effort- I’m on these apps all the time anyway! 

I also have a folder that holds all of my news apps (I named the folder “Smartness,” but you can call it whatever you want- I just like to add a little fun to everyday things).  There are apps like Pulse and Zite that pull news from multiple sources, based on your preferences and interests- and display them on the same home page so you can get a little bit of everything!  I like to read up on political news (I’m a Political Science minor), but I also indulge in Humor and DIY blogs, as well as popular interest magazines like Vogue. 

I’m also a huge advocate for a e-newsletter source called The Skimm.  Every weekday morning, they send out a quick-witted, easy-to-read email summarizing the day’s news.  It’s a simple way to keep up with what’s happening in the world- I read it every morning during breakfast!  Having insight into a little bit of everything is helpful to know what’s happening or trending in all industries and places around you.  Being a Public Relations student requires a lot of planning and multi-tasking, and it’s vital to utilize anything that can make it fun and painless!