productivity vs efficiency target

Productivity vs. Efficiency. What Should PR Pros Aim For?

Have you looked at the clock during your workday and wondered how the day escaped you? Maybe you felt as though you couldn’t accomplish all that you had planned for that day, or even that there simply wasn’t enough time to check off your ongoing to-do list that seems to continuously grow. No matter the field of work, all professionals strive for maximum productivity in their day. But that might be the wrong measure to aim for.

The differences between productivity and efficiency are slight in definition but can make a big difference. Productivity focuses on bulk output, while efficiency measures how much of your output actually hits the mark. We know businesses need both productivity (performance) and efficiency (how well you perform). For PR pros, being productive is great but increasing your efficiency can drive improvements in the quality of your work, which typically leads to happier clients and can save you time (and budget) in the future.

While there isn’t a single path to improve efficiencies, there are some proactive measures you can start implementing in your daily routine now that can benefit your work in the long run.

For Yourself

You can read hundreds of different books or articles on how best to be efficient in your day-to-day work, but only YOU know what works best for your workflow. Maybe it’s writing out your weekly to-do list on paper, grouping tasks for efficiency and crossing off items as you go along, or maybe it’s using a free, online task tracker where you can keep tabs on your progress. No matter your preference, if you have *any* system in place to keep your work efficient, you’re headed in the right direction.

No matter how busy you are with client work, consider adding a little critical thinking to your calendar. Schedule time with yourself to consider what the goals are for the projects you’re working on and ask yourself if the approach you’re taking is the best way to achieve the results you want. Be open minded to change, especially when it could bring new efficiencies. And be willing to point out any inefficiencies you’re seeing in how you work with a client – but always come with ideas for improving, not just the complaint that it could be better.

For Your Team

When you’re working with your team on a larger project, efficiency is key to getting your work done right and on time. But where do you start? Try reverse engineering your project goals to maximize efficiencies within your team. Begin with laying out the results you’re looking for. Maybe your team is working toward a product launch date, or perhaps your project needs to be completed within two months flat. Taking your goal and working backward, ask your team, “what do we need to prepare for in order to get there?” and “what’s the most efficient approach to reach our goals?” By starting from the result and working backward, you are much more likely to achieve the outcome you want and increase overall efficiencies.

Looking at the plan from this high level before you get started will also allow you to remove any redundancies and assign clear ownership for each of the activities to ensure everyone on the project knows their role and multiple people aren’t spending time on the same task unnecessarily.

For Your Clients

A little advance planning goes a long way when it comes to driving client efficiencies. Instead of spending a couple days every month searching for events or editorial calendar opportunities, consider a more efficient, long view approach and create an annual calendar once a year that can easily be updated as needed.

When planning a launch or announcement and developing press materials, you can drive efficiencies by crafting a set of guiding key messages and having those approved by the client before drafting any of the press documents. Once approved, these key messages become the basis for all other materials, increasing the likelihood that all materials hit the mark.

At the end of the year, showcasing the work you’ve accomplished on your client’s behalf can be beneficial; however, instead of trying to go back and pull together all results at the year’s end, consider creating tracking documents up front to capture all results as they come in. It will save you time and you’ll likely have more success finding all the results as they appear.

At Nuffer, Smith, Tucker we’ve been driving efficiencies in our successful execution of client programs for more than 45 years. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for your brand or organization, contact us today.