What you’d do with an extra hour

This Sunday in the U.S. our phones will automatically set our clocks back an hour for the end of Daylight Saving Time. It’s the one instance a year in our time-starved society that we get extra of an otherwise entirely non-renewable resource: time.

It got me thinking – what if we had a free hour every week? An hour that we hadn’t scheduled, that no one could schedule for us. What would be the highest and best use of that time?

Definitely not work. But since I’m the one making up this hypothetical free hour, I’ll stretch a bit and say . . . what if it was work? What would be the most effective way to spend it?

After musing on that, here are my suggestions. These grow out of three consistent habits that I see top media relations pros emulate that I don’t see from the other 99 percent of people in our business. These three behaviors account for most of the difference between big-time success and mediocrity.

  • Spend one hour per week reaching out to journalists and other influencers you’re targeting and let them know what you think of their work. (Not only right before you’re about to pitch them.)
  • Spend one hour per week talking to people — phone, Zoom, or in-person, no texting or email — in your organization (or a client’s) about what they’re seeing and thinking. This is how you uncover the really good angles to share with media. Not waiting for someone to tell you what to pitch.
  • Send your bosses an update each week about some win or progress or insight that you and/or your team gained. Not braggy, just keeping them in the loop. This is how you build the trust necessary to get the license to try new and riskier things.

Imagine what your life would be like after weeks of doing just one of those activities. Visualize the relationships with media, the wealth of story ideas, or the sense of partnership with leadership, that you’ll have. Work would be a lot easier, right? So just do it!

It’s entirely in your control. You don’t need a mythical time-setting overlord to grant you a free hour per week. I guarantee you that you can shave 60 minutes from your weekly time on social media and email if you really want to.

And I promise you that the results of how you re-focus that hour will make you much happier.

This article was originally published on November 3, 2021

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