Five worthwhile ways to spend those idle summer hours

Five worthwhile ways to spend those idle summer hours

It’s the end of July. Seems EVERYONE is on vacation–including reporters.

You know that spending time pitching stories right now may not lead anywhere…you can practically hear the crickets chirping when you hit the “send” button.

So, if you specialize in media relations, what do you do with your time?

If you find yourself with some extra hours during these dog days of summer, here are some thoughts on how to spend that time.

1. Write. Remember how you’re always looking for that extra hour to write that blog post on a topic near and dear to your heart? Now’s your chance. Jump on that summer “free” time to work on some writing projects. Writing requires you to focus, which let’s face it, we sometimes just can’t do with constant interruptions, meetings and appointments. Use the quiet of the office to lull you into the mood to get your thoughts down on paper—before things heat up again.

2. Check out a new app. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an hour to actually spend trying out a new app? Well, now you do. Muck Rack recently posted a blog on some great apps to try here. Some of my favorites to play with when I have some spare time include Canva, Buffer and Buzzsumo. Other apps getting buzz include Feedly, Videolicious, Upitch and of course, Snapchat and Periscope—and the list goes on.

3. Participate in a Twitter chat. On a busy day in the office, ain’t nobody got time for a Twitter chat. But, on a slower day, why not? Twitter chats are a great way to stay up on what’s happening in the industry. You can meet new PR pros, discover resources you didn’t know existed and make new friends. And, they’re just plain fun! Muck Rack has #MuckedUp chat, Ragan’s PR Daily has #RaganChat, and of course, you can search for others.

4. Go deeper on research. As PR pros, we’re always encouraged to “do our research.” So, why not use this time to research ideas for a pitch you may want to put together on a trend you see? Or research a few reporters with whom you’d like to build stronger relationships? When you’re rushing to get things done, you may feel you shortchange your research time. So, now could be the perfect opportunity to delve a little deeper.

5. Check in with your network. Remember your network? Those people you’ve met in your professional life who you want to keep in touch with? Take a few minutes to do just that. Choose a few contacts you haven’t checked in with in a while and say hello. You can do this via email or via LinkedIn. Another thing that’s fun to do if you have a few minutes is to surprise someone in your network with a LinkedIn recommendation—completely unsolicited. That’s like getting a gift, truly! And that person will remember you.

When things pick up again, you’ll look back on this time—and as you’re rushing from meeting to meeting, you’ll fondly remember these lazy, hazy summer days when you had a few spare hours to while away.

How do you plan to spend your quiet time in the office this summer? Tweet us!

Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. She works with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprises such as Adobe and HP, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and increase visibility, prospects and sales.

Photo: Bored woman via Shutterstock

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