That’s the question Katherine-Rose Watson answers every day working as an independent publicist in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Watson balances several big-name clients, including the Dallas Symphony and Fort Worth Opera. She helps build their brand and public image by working with media to get coverage on dozens of awesome events each year.
But as anyone who’s ever worked with media or thrown an event understands – you can’t quite plan for everything. So instead of trying, you have to know how to react.
The 26-year-old does this well, which is why we asked her to share her tips for staying organized – even with a crazy, unpredictable schedule.
1. Regularly ask yourself what needs to be done
Every week, Watson spends time evaluating her clients’ needs and deciding what she can do that would most help them reach their goals.
“I always ask myself, what am I doing for client X this week? Then I plan my weeks accordingly,” Watson said. “Keeping a schedule is so helpful because I can glance at my calendar and see that I’m taking care of all of my clients or I’ll notice that I need to do more for a client.”
Spending 20-30 minutes each week considering your most important tasks for the next seven days will make it easier for you to decide how to best spend your time.
2. Create an action plan
Once she’s determined her commitments for the week, Watson creates a to-do list for the following Monday.
“I keep a Things To Do pad of paper in my office right next to my mouse and every Friday, I detail what needs to be done the following week. The list grows throughout the week of course but it helps me to go into Monday with an action plan.”
Watson uses the same strategy in her personal life by creating lists for weekend errands or prepping for a party in her home.
“People always ask me how I have time to do so much,” she laughs. “The answer is by making lists!”
3. Routine is Good
Despite thriving in an unpredictable industry, Watson aims to have some predictability in her own schedule.
“I try to keep meetings, lunches, interviews, etc to three days,” she explains, “and I reserve the other two days to stay in the office, e.g. write press releases, put together reports, pitch story ideas, etc.”
She tries to schedule most appointments on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, while reserving Mondays and Fridays for working at her office.
4. But flexibility is key
Watson emphasizes that this is just a general guide, and she makes herself available when its necessary.
“Clients call me late at night and on weekends, media calls me at all hours of the day, and I often have to wake up in the middle of the night to take clients go morning shows.”
Creating a schedule helps get you in the right mindset and set expectations for the week, but you still have to open to last-minute changes.
“It’s important to be flexible so even though I have a general idea of what my week will look like, I’m prepared to change the schedule.”
5. Don’t overbook your schedule
Watson is not only flexible – she purposely creates a schedule that’s conducive to an unexpected photo shoot or client crisis.
“In my line of work, last minute changes are inevitable. That’s why it’s important to never over schedule. I definitely plan for unexpected projects.”
Watson says she’ll try to schedule no more than seven meetings for herself each week – but even that number changes sometimes. Plus, scheduling meetings for the middle of the week gives Watson more wiggle room on Mondays and Fridays.
6. Be flexible with yourself
When Watson’s not meeting clients or managing media shoots, she maintains a focused yet flexible schedule.
“If I’m feeling inspired on Saturday morning, I’ll write up a whole PR campaign,” Watson said. “If I’m having writer’s block on Tuesday afternoon, I’ll take my dog to the park or work in the garden.”
Instead of forcing herself to work a traditional 9-to-5 shift, she prefers working when she’s most focused.
“I believe it’s better to write a press release in one hour at 9:00 pm when I’m firing on all cylinders than spend two hours stewing over it in the afternoon. I love always getting to work when I can give 150%. It’s so much more efficient!”
About Katherine-Rose Watson:
Katherine Rose Watson is an independent publicist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area representing clients such as Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Opera, Artists for Animals, and E-Mist Innovations. A TCU alum who majored in German, Watson is self-taught in PR and believes integrity and reliability will get you everywhere in the industry. In her free time, Watson enjoys riding her horses, walking her dog, cooking, and gardening. She also owns the food and lifestyle website The Rose Table. Follow her on Twitter @krwatson.