Hi, I'm Margie Newman. I blog about public relations, social media, careers, productivity and geek stuff.

Five ways to get, stay organized in 2012

I adore the first few weeks of January. That magical time when my blog traffic spikes with Googling visitors newly resolved to “get organized” in the new year. That makes me so happy. You know how I love talking to-do lists, productivity and Moleskine.  So, without further ado, here are my top tips to help you get and stay organized in 2012:

Keep one to-do list: you only have one brain, which frets over everything from that memo you need to write, to the dentist appointment you keep forgetting to make and the day care check you that OMG-YOU-MUST-MAIL-TODAY. Your brain doesn’t keep separate “work” and “personal” to-do lists, so why do you? Consolidate all of those calendars, post-its, napkins and lists into ONE. Then, prioritize the lot. This works; trust me. My to-do list of choice is Good To Do. That said, you may be like my husband and find a paper to-do list more productive. Whatever floats your boat. Just use ONE.

Clear your inbox(es): this one always gets me the crazy-eye. But I’m serious. Your inbox is not a filing cabinet; it is not a to-do list. Watch this video or read this book. Then, take a deep breath and start taking action, delegating, filing or deleting! This one is super-empowering, though it does take a while if your inbox has 5,500 emails in it. One great way to keep the clutter from returning is to unsubscribe from all that junk email you get each day; feels so good!

Write it down: you know how you wake up in the middle of the night, freaking out over something you forgot to do that day? Some email you forgot to send? The dog’s medication you forgot to give him? Keep a notebook beside your bed. When you wake up fretting, write it down. Then, go back to sleep. You can’t do anything about it at 3:35 a.m. anyway–without looking like a crazy person. I keep a notebook in my purse, too. And for a while, when I was really stressed with work and personal stuff, I kept a notebook by the shower! Hey, we do what we need to do. When you wake up/get back to your desk/dry off, you’ll then transfer those random thoughts and to-dos to your ONE LIST. See how this works!

Create a file system: you don’t have to go 100% David Allen with your files, but you do need a system for work and home. I use colored file folders and keep two cabinets: one in my office; one in my home closet. Every project and meaningful task gets a folder. This keeps my desk clear of clutter, while enabling me to hoard relevant notes, business cards plans, receipts, agendas, etc. When the project/task is done, the folder gets filed away.

Use an RSS reader: point all those blogs, news sites, job postings, friend’s baby pictures, critics’ Tweets, Google Alerts and time wasters to ONE PLACE. I use Google Reader. But there are many others out there. This way, my inbox is free of “alert” clutter and I don’t have to spend time surfing the Internet to get caught up on news, tech, gossip and flickr feeds. This technique may or may not work for you. Some folks find an RSS reader more trouble than it’s worth, but it works for me!

What organizational tools do you swear by? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Guinea Pig’n: better late than never


Sometimes, I’m a little late to the party. Exhibit A: I just discovered Pinterest. Even my relatively non-techish friends are obsessed with the site, yet I could not have told you what it was until this week. Anyway, I’ve set up my “boards,” have installed a “Pin It” button in my browser toolbar and am giving it a go. But lest my self-esteem suffer from the endless pictorial perfection, I will heed the good warning to peruse Pinterest in moderation. You can “follow me” here.


The good geek news is that I’m really enjoying getting to know Tumblr. Though WordPress will always be my first love (I’m really digging the “drag and drop” images capability in the newest WP update), Tumblr is an excellent home for my Preggers blog. Most of my posts are pictures uploaded from Instagram. It was frustrating for a while because I could not get the comments to work. But a quick change of the template theme and Disqus was working like a charm. If you are into cute baby stuff, odd things people say to pregnant women or over-sharing, check it out.


Okay, so when it comes to the beloved music platform Spotify, I just don’t get it at all. Maybe it’s because I am a Pandora girl and using Spotify feels like cheating. I don’t know. But I’ve tried it several times and finally just uninstalled it because I couldn’t find a use for it. Am I crazy? Folks seem to be obsessed with it; maybe I’m missing something?

What geekery and gadgets have you guinea pigged with lately? 

Tin roof, rusted: a FlackRabbit pregnancy guide (Months 1-5)

Oh, the times I’ve preached to bloggers-to-be about the importance of regularly scheduled posting. Yet, weeks have gone by since my last FlackRabbit musing. I’m sorry.

I have a fabulous excuse though: I am making a tiny human. Squeal! I know, I know! And it’s a girl! Squeeeeee!

Indeed, the newest addition to Team Newman will arrive March 10-ish—which is like, tomorrow. Yikes. Yes, we are acutely aware this due date means we cannot attend SXSW Interactive. There’s always 2013…

Despite this awesome baby news that has taken over every fiber of my being, loyal FlackRabbiters need not worry: FlackRabbit will not become a mommy blog. I promise. I just wanted to publicly let you know that my blogging absence isn’t because I don’t love you; it is because I have been kind of busy trying not to vomit at work. Or I’ve been sleeping. I’ve also been preoccupied with red meat, oatmeal cream pies, sweet tea and Zulily.

Yet, in the spirit of “this is one of the only times I’m going to blog about pregnancy on my public relations blog,” please accept (or excuse) my tiny contribution to the Internet’s generous provision of resources for the first-time-pregnant, working gal: 

FlackRabbit’s Pregnancy Guide | Months 1—5


Alpha Mom’s Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty, by Amy Corbett Storch: I will not attempt to articulate its awesomeness, because I will fail.

Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, by Vicki Iovine: laugh out loud funny and so very helpful—but not scary. Have now read it twice.

Pregnant Chicken: informative and hysterical. Plus, there are give-a-ways!


A fun pregnancy iPhone app: although I have seven of them on my phone, this one by Smiles Factory is my favorite. I like this one, too, by OB on the Go; it has a fun hydration counter thingy.

This maternity pillow: girl, I know it’s $100; worth every freakin penny. Do it.

Dresses: lots of them. And this from the gal who likes to wear suits every day.  But about six weeks into your pregnancy, those fitted suit pants of yours will.not.button. And there is nothing as awesome as a cotton dress when you’re pregnant. Well, besides eating an entire bag of BBQ chips… Read More…

Guest Post: Droid Bionic: Fast, Smart, Power-Hungry

{Today’s guest post is a fabulous product review by Dough-man, a friend of mine who loves geek speak and gadgetry as much as I do. As you may recall, for three years I wrote for Her Nashville magazine as the “Chic Geek.” On my Chic Geek blog, I wrote many a product review on everything from the original line of Droids, to netbooks, and even the ridiculous Blackberry Storm; a product I refuse to link to. Since I no longer write for that publication, you’re reading this review–and any future reviews–here!}

by Dough-man

I was a Droid early adopter back in 2009 … as a Verizon subscriber and Apple skeptic, the iPhone was tempting but not really an option and the opportunity to help kick the tires on a new mobile operating system was attractive.  Over twenty months, the phone became a prized possession and all-purpose tool, used for work and personal tasks alike.

Recently, however, I found myself bumping up against the limits of Verizon’s 3G. Files took longer to download and apps began to hang; some websites wouldn’t even load. I started to look for an opportunity to upgrade to 4G. Finally, I succumbed to the hype on various Android boards and used my upgrade credit on a new Droid Bionic.

Setup is a little odd; as someone who has never dealt with SIM cards it was disconcerting to snap the 4G brains out of a little plastic card and manually insert it into my phone.

I also had a little trouble activating the phone, but I chalk that up to an avalanche of upgraders like me and in any event I was up and running 3 hours after I took the phone out of the box and about an hour after the battery was fully charged.

First blush: the Bionic is markedly bigger and lighter than the Droid, big enough, in fact, that typing on the virtual keyboard (especially in landscape) is no problem even for my big, clumsy fingers. Read More…

Four tips for journalists crossing-over into PR

Hello there, talented journalist!

I’m often approached by print and broadcast reporters and editors like you for tips on transitioning into a career in public relations. After years—even decades—of researching, reporting, investigating and doing your best to file balanced, accurate and timely stories, you’re contemplating making the move to the dark side.

Congrats! You’re really going to love it over here. That is, unless you take a job you have enough years, but not the experience for; assume you are still going to see your name in the paper; or negotiate a salary that does not take into account the overtime you’re about to give up. Yikes!

Never fear, I’m happy to help. Here are the pitfalls and pick-me-ups you’ll need to remember in order to rock out your new career:

Your decade of newsroom experience does not equal a decade of communications management experience.

Public relations isn’t rocket science, but it is a learned skill set. Just like “talking to reporters” everyday doesn’t make me a great journalist, “talking to PR people” doesn’t translate into mastery of project management, strategy and proposal memos, event planning, running a client’s budget, dealing with corporate bureaucracy and crafting and implementing a media relations campaign.

If you walk into a room of experienced PR folks and declare that although you’ve never done their job, you’re awesome at it, they will turn on you so fast it will make your head spin. And you need those flacks because you’ve never done this before…

Accept that you don’t know what you don’t know—then, seek out an employer who understands that.

Take a job at a public relations or public affairs firm that understands that although you come with a highly-valuable skill set, you must be trained in—and given time to learn—the actual craft of public relations.

I strongly encourage you to NOT make your first communications gig a “Communications Director” for a company, or any place that expects you to be a one-woman show. Read More…

DC Flacks featured in The Washington Post

I was thrilled when Lisa Byrne’s DC Event Junkie profiled the DC Flacks Two Year Anniversary happy hour. The feature brought us several new members and tons of exposure on Twitter. Who could ask for anything more? So, when a Washington Post photographer decided to cover the event after reading about us on Lisa’s site, it was a double bonus! Thank you, Lisa, for enabling this fabulous coverage of DC Flacks’ second birthday:

DC Flacks Two Year Anniversary featured in The Washington Post! (September 3, 2011)

Read More…

Welcome to the Family, Tallahassee Flacks!

Oh, sure, it’s been two months since my last post, but I’m back with all kinds of fabulous news! For starters, it’s time to welcome Tallahassee to our Flacks family!

That’s right: Tallahassee, Florida, public relations, communications and new media pros now have a no-pressure happy hour of their very own. And my Best Friend in the Whole Wide World, Rachel Davis Cone, is the hostess!

Check out the #TallyFlacks and please help Rachel spread the word. Besides, when it is too freakin cold in DC to be social around January and February–and if we have been nice to her–maybe Rachel will let us relocate DC Flacks to Tally for a couple of months.  Just a thought.

Thinking about starting a Flacks Meetup in your town? Check out our Flacks affiliations page; and don’t hesitate to email me (Margie @ flackrabbit dot com) if you need help or a pep talk!