This week sees the beginning of #ZeroWasteWeek, a campaign which aims to raise awareness about food wastage and encourage people to reduce the amount of food they waste. And this got us thinking about productivity and how much we waste in other aspects of life. Money. Opportunities. And, perhaps most importantly, time.

In PR, we’re constantly jumping between different tasks for multiple clients and we’re used to managing never-ending workloads and tight deadlines. So, how can we reduce our wasted time and stay on top of our to-do lists?

Here are Tonic’s top five tips to maximise productivity:

Prioritise your workload Working in PR guarantees a heavy workload, you need to be able to meet demands and hop between different clients. When you’ve got an extensive list of work to do, the best way to ensure productivity is to prioritise. Before you begin, it’s worth making a list of the most important tasks of the day – phone calls that need to be made, tasks with a deadline etc.

Organisation is everything Productivity isn’t just about working through everything as fast as possible, it’s about knowing what needs to be done and being clear with yourself about how you can be most effective. In PR there are no excuses for being unorganised, so take this to the next level by mapping out a daily schedule and sticking to it. It might feel like you’re cutting into time that could be spent getting on with your work, but for the sake of 10 minutes spent organising your tasks, it could save you time later on in the day and ensure you have a steady flow of productivity from beginning to end.

You might be tempted to juggle loads of different tasks at once, but studies show that multitasking makes us less productive, so having a clear schedule will ensure you don’t take too much on at one time.

Eliminate distractions Whether you’re at work or home, distractions can be found everywhere. Even when you might think you’re fully immersed in what you’re doing, you could easily be tuning in to any passing distraction. Your phone might receive a notification, and your instant reaction will be to check it. Here at Tonic, we know how easy it is to let our inbox take over our day but it is important not to let it knock you off schedule.

While it might seem best to block out distractions until you’ve completed your current task, being reactive is important for any successful PR campaign and whether reacting to a news item we can piggyback onto or a crisis that needs urgent attention, it’s essential that we quickly respond to it. In these instances, the to-do list may be neglected, so it is important to either quickly return to the task or pass it over to a colleague – PR is all about working as a team to get the best results for our clients

Keep a diary It might sound obvious, but keeping a diary of important dates and meetings, to do lists and reminders is vital. With PR, it comes as part of the job, but this can come in handy outside of work too. Often, there are plenty of un-work related tasks that need doing, and if you focus too much on one set of tasks, then it’s easy to neglect your personal life. So, it’s worth keeping a personal diary so you can jot down reminders for things you are likely to forget.

Visual to-do lists Ticking something off a list automatically makes you feel productive, even if you’re ticking off something relatively simple and non-important. Implementing daily to-do lists into your life can give you the gratification you seek when you want to feel like you’re getting plenty done. Getting into this habit will also inspire you do note down more things that need doing, purely for the satisfaction of ticking them off!

Contributor Jade Moore