If someone ever asked me what I would rate as the number one basic PR agency skill this is the answer I'd give: impecible organisation skills and time management.
I'm not saying it's absolutely make or break stuff, nor I do believe that it can't be taught - it absolutely can and creating an effective to-do list should be in induction programs the world over. However I do know that TIME is the central part of a PR agency.
Without efficient use of his or her time, the best PR in the world can come unstuck. I think it's partly to do with the business model behind most PR agencies which is billable time - now this model is shifting at the moment (just ask the PRIA for examples) but unfortunately while we're yet to come up with another unanimous way to track what we do time = money in a PR agency. But that's not all, I really do believe that part of the importance of time management in PR comes down to its relationship to journalism. Now there is a time and organisation driven profession - deadlines are called deadlines because if you don't meet them your 'dead'! So PR naturally has to have an understanding of this and a good PR professional doing media relations will absolutely mould their work to fit with the schedules of their target media. And this time-focused importance has only become more important in the last 5 to 10 years with the never ending rise of the digital age.
Now I want to hear from others in the industry - how did you get your head around the organisation and time management required for PR? Personally I remember an absolutely fabulous first mentor who set me up with a To Do List template that I will take to my grave. It wasn't an option, I had to use it and I had to use it well. Now I love it and feel lost and bereaved without it! This is not to say I never come unstuck, far from there are always days when way too much lands on the plate and something's gotta give but having the right list, the right tool, the right guidance makes all the difference. So how do you do the juggle?