What keeps me up at night?

A PR person’s brain never stops. Never. No, really. Never stops. I guess technically, one’s brain never really stops, so let me qualify that statement: a PR executive’s thoughts are always racing – and generally, we’re OK with that (see Kerri’s recent post “Why I would do my job for free”). But what is it that keeps us up at night? I thought it might be fun to clue everyone in. Welcome to a night in Crissy’s brain at bedtime:

Wish I hadn’t had that last cup of coffee at my 4 p.m. meeting… I hope my client got the email I sent with questions from the reporter. It’s not like him not to respond by end of day. Hope he’s OK… what if it went to his spam folder? Need to text him… Why isn’t Garden & Gun getting back to me? I really need to call them tomorrow… again. Or email. Or find a new reporter. It’s such a great story idea… I can’t believe Max turned 3 years old last week! Time is really flying… Has it really been two years since we moved to Dallas? I wish Granite Properties hadn’t brought that cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes to celebrate our office anniversary. No, actually, I’m glad they brought the cake. It was fantastic… I really need to get up early and run. Resetting alarm clock for 6 a.m. Need to remember to write that action plan for Urban Rio tomorrow… Is tomorrow Wednesday or Thursday? Dang it, Thursday. I have to reset my alarm clock for 5 a.m. so I can run then get to my networking meeting… Why is my husband already asleep and I’m just laying here? I feel like I got nothing done on my to-do list today… Oh! I just had a great idea for Heroes Project’s fundraising campaign… must email Tiffany now so I don’t forget… Oh good, my client emailed me back… OK. Need. Sleep. Now… Need to edit the news release Tiffany sent for Promise House first thing in the morning. After my networking meeting. After my call after the meeting… Maybe I need to do it before my meeting? Resetting alarm clock for even earlier… OMG. I am seriously only going to get four hours of sleep at this rate… What if I sleep through my alarm clock…?

Welcome to my nightly world of chaos. It seems the best ideas and running through of to-do lists only happen when the head hits the pillow! And just to prove I’m not the only crazy PR person at Obsidian, here are the things that keep a few of my colleagues up at night – proving that our clients and the love of PR really do rule our brains.


Lingering tasks; story opportunities or various projects that didn’t go as planned; having a massive to-do list; feeling like I’m behind on something; the realization on Sunday night that #MondayIsComing…


Mary Catherine:

Wondering if I forgot to do something; thinking about potential ideas for clients and hoping I remember them the next day; staying up late watching/reading the news to feel prepared for the next day; making mental to-do lists…


I think the obvious answer to that question is when I feel unprepared for something at work, whether because something came up last minute or other things got in the way of an outstanding deadline. If I’ve made mistakes at work, those have kept me up. I think about how that mistake reflected on me and the firm in general. Also, I think about how it affects the client and their audiences.


Is XYZ task “done”? Will my clients renew their retainers? Is my client happy with my performance? What am I missing in this event promotion? How else can I pitch client/event/news? There’s so much to do; can I keep everything afloat? Am I doing enough for my clients? Did I get back to all the media that responded to my pitch? Will my contest/award nomination for my client win?

Sarah L.:

Deadlines, busy days, having to wake up early the next morning and thinking I’ll miss my alarm, waiting on a response for an important email from media, clients or co-workers…


Deadlines (especially recurring ones), when a client freaks out about something – even if I’ve rectified the situation by the end of the day. Same fear as Sarah L. – potentially missing my alarm. And this is not just on workdays! I got less sleep on the Friday night before my sister’s wedding than I did before my own! My alarm was set only 10 minutes earlier than it is on a normal work day, and I was up two hours early afraid I’d missed it.

(Editor’s note: Alarm clocks cause anxiety.)


Tasks I didn’t get to that day…

(Editor’s note: our male colleagues’ brains operate very differently from the female brains.)


Social media editorial calendars, event postings, deadlines all at the same time, distributing international news releases, watching the nightly news (late-night news)…

Sarah B.:

All the things mentioned in this article.


Now, what keeps you up at night?