Whether full-time or freelance editor, time is always a premium for such professionals. And as the economy continues to limp along and companies consolidate positions, editors increasingly are faced with the challenge of taking on more work, often without raises or with pay cuts. The situation can only be handled by keeping three important tips […]
Whether full-time or freelance editor, time is always a premium for such professionals. And as the economy continues to and companies consolidate positions, editors increasingly are faced with the challenge of taking on more work, often without raises or with pay cuts. The situation can only be handled by keeping three important tips in mind: simplify, organize and prioritize.
Keep the simple things simple. If you can pick up the phone and make a quick call to a PIO (public information officer) to verify a stat in a story, do it. Have a small hole to fill in a feature profile? Make it easy by producing a short, punchy by-the-numbers box. Replace a writer’s essay with the one you were planning on running next month. Use quiet time, before everyone gets to work in the morning or leaves for lunch, to set achievable goals for the day or afternoon.
Iain Broome of WriteForYourLife.net makes a : “Goals can change and decisions can be reversed, but it’s always useful to know when you’re able to stop. You need to aim for contentment.” Keep the office stress at a minimum and you’ll not only do yourself a favor, but you’ll keep morale positive amid factors out of your control.
Become friends with Excel or Numbers, and your computer’s calendar. Lists and spreadsheets can be extremely helpful when planning your day, week, month and year. Journalist Anne Valdespino says, “the most important thing I ever learned was backout deadlines. Start with the day something is due and figure out all the tasks leading up to it that need to be done and when they should be completed.”
You can also begin by jotting down everything you do on a regular basis, figure out how often the tasks are required, then create a spreadsheet that includes columns for details about each assignment. If you’re even more visual than that, take a look at . Make use of the alerts on your laptop or smartphone’s calendar. Set reminders at intervals leading up to a deadline to help you stay on track and be aware of your time. Like FreelanceSwitch.com’s Leo Babauta , “Tackle one step at a time. […] Each step should be small enough that it takes an hour or less, so it’s not too intimidating.”
Forget the so-called “firefighting” mentality. Work will hum along if there aren’t constant blazes to put out, and the best way to avoid as many disasters as possible is by prioritizing your assignments. As Krissy Brady on WriteItSideways.com, “Look over the writing goals you had hoped to accomplish, and prioritize them. You might be thinking, ‘But all of my writing projects are my priority.’ Maybe so, but if you look over your projects, organizing them by urgency—call for submissions deadlines, writing contest deadlines, dates you promised to have articles submitted by, etc.—this will ensure you won’t miss the writing opportunities that can pass you by.”
This is, of course, easier said than done for daily or weekly publications, but if you make an effort to double up on work and keep the simple things simple, deadlines won’t seem so impossible. Assign an additional three stories at a time, edit an extra three articles each day, or add another three ideas to your research list, and you’ll always have something in the works. This will come in handy when a story falls through or a staffer calls in sick or goes on vacation.
Working as an editor comes with enough obstacles. The more tools that can help ease each burden, the better.
Rose Flores Medlock is a member of the Brazen Life Contributor Network.