This post was first published by Rebecca Ferrick on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

New Year's Resolutions 2015

My usual New Year’s resolution is to avoid making resolutions. In the past, I’ve been guilty of setting myself up for inevitable failure. I’ve made countless resolutions that I know I will never actually remember to keep (like 2012’s resolution to floss everyday…) nor be able to achieve in 365 days.

However, having just begun my tech PR career, I’m resolving to be more resolute. I’ve been an account coordinator at March for two months now and have learned an incredible amount, including what I need to work on as a new PR professional. Hey, you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes right?Here are my top three 2015 New Year’s resolutions for new PR professionals:

1. Slow Down & Prioritize

The public relations industry is known for its fast-paced, get-it-done-yesterday attitude, which is one of the reasons I love it. I thrive on the constant challenge of getting it all done in time and getting it all done well. However, sometimes I find myself going so fast that I can’t slow down— that’s when mistakes happen. I’ve made some silly and some not-so-silly mistakes in a mad rush. Something I need to work on in 2015 is taking the time to read over my work a few times before hitting the send button. Just like machine system overloads, so do people. Take a second to breathe and collect your thoughts at the start, middle and end of each project.

If you feel like there are a million things being thrown at you and that familiar overwhelmed sensation begins to take hold, grab a pen and paper. For me, to-do lists are everything. I create a list of each action item that needs to be done, in order of their deadlines. If I have multiple items that seem to be of equal priority, I’ll ask for an exact time those assignments need to be completed by. Your team will appreciate your ability to manage time, and it might help them to organize their schedules, too! At the end of the day, I make sure to update my list so that when I arrive at work the next day, l know exactly where I left off. For 2015, I’m planning on improving how I prioritize priorities!

2. Ask the Right Questions

I happen to hate the expression, “There are no dumb questions,” because I believe there absolutely are dumb questions. Make sure that you really can’t find the answer to your inquiry before you ask. I have a bad habit of skimming an email, then asking about information that was really in front of me the entire time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because it really is how you learn— just make sure you’re asking the right questions. My goal is to leave the dumb questions in 2014.

That being said, being new to tech PR, no one expects me to know everything immediately. Make sure you’re always communicating with your team when you’re feeling completely lost on an assignment or if you need clarification. Don’t assume you’ll figure it out eventually, because by that later point in your career, you will be expected to know. You’ll save yourself and your team a lot of aggravation by asking for further explanation on a project immediately, rather than doing it incorrectly because you were too nervous to ask. This leads me to my final resolution for 2015…

3. Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

My all-time favorite quote is, “A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships were built for.” I’m the first one to admit that I have a difficult time putting this into practice. It’s easy to get comfy in your day-to-day routine, but it’s important to always challenge yourself. When you do, more often than not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.

This year, my resolution is to embrace being uncomfortable and tell the nervous little voice in my head to be quiet. I’m going to go to that networking event, even though I don’t know anyone on the guest list. I’m going to speak up when I think I have a great angle for a pitch. I’m going to get involved with difficult projects that will progress my skill level.

New tech PR professionals, let’s stick to these resolutions together! See you in 2016!