#PrioritizingBusyness

 

We heard keys in the door, then the voice of a cheerful young woman.

“Good moooooorning!” she yelled.

“Hey!” Octavia hollered back.

“Helloooooo!” I yelled.

“Who’s that?”

“R.C. Paige. New girl,” I said.

She turned on the overhead TV in the office lobby, then come back to our area and turned on another overhead TV. News blasted from the lobby TV and muzak played from the TV on our side, which showed a list of the day’s hearings scheduled.

“You can always tune that out and pull up a TV on your screen,” Octavia said. “In fact, you’ll need to keep that window open to MSNBC so you don’t miss anything.”

“I’m a news junkie anyway,” I assured her.

“Take that up a notch and you’ll be fine,” she said. “Anytime you can get a jump on her, do. She’ll respect you for it.”

“What you mean?” I asked.

“Be proactive. That’s what she wants. I’ll give her credit, they’re never gonna catch her sleeping…”

We heard keys again, then the front door open, then we smelled coffee.

“Who dat?” the young woman hollered.

“King of the castle. Who you think?” came a male’s voice.

“Hey Billy. What up?” the young woman yelled. “Take the lock off,” she added.

“Hi. I’m Nia. Heard a lot about you,” the young woman said, dropping a stack of newspapers on my desk.

“Don’t tell me,” I smiled.

Octavia reached over me and closed the e-mail.

“I need to show you some other things,” she said.

Besides writing press releases to get coverage for upcoming bills and events, and besides calling reporters and pitching stories, I’ll need to plan for big projects, including newsletters, and a year-end report to media. She gave me a ten-page exit memo with a lot of the work outlined. I took a lot of notes, too. She showed me templates for press releases, and templates for statements and resolutions I’ll have to write, but the whole time she was explaining stuff, calls were coming in for interviews.

She showed me the list of media contacts and explained which reporters were friendliest to Madame Senator. She showed me where senatorial bills and correspondence are filed on our shared computer drives, and gave me e-mail addresses for leaders of the Democratic Press Secretaries group so I can keep up with the daily talking points they issue Congress members in the House and Senate. Anytime there’s a major issue in the news, in order for them to deliver a consistent message, the Majority Leader of the Senate’s office will send us all talking points, facts and statistics to use in our press releases.

“They have message meetings on Mondays and strategy sessions on Thursdays,” Octavia explained, “But you’ll hardly have time to attend them.”

When Madame Senator gives an interview, I will have to monitor the interview, whether it’s a live camera interview, or an off-the-record phone conversation with a reporter.

“Make sure she doesn’t get misquoted, whatever you do. Make sure the reporter gets it right the first time,” Octavia said.

 

  1. Is your daily To-Do list crammed with more than ten things to do (cook the family breakfast, pack lunch, drop off the dry cleaning, work 8-10 hours at the office, take daughter to choir rehearsal, pick up son from basketball practice, serve dinner, check homework, one load of laundry, entertain/romance your spouse/lover OR go to school full-time, work two part-time jobs and an internship)?
  2. How do you forgive yourself when you don’t complete every task with 100 percent perfection?
  3. When/how can you be less busy?
  4. What would be the benefits of reducing your business (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually?
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