In almost every line of work, there are two skill sets that are invaluable to have- knowing how to effectively write and edit and knowing how to effectively manage people. These two skills comprise the majority of a day’s work for most of us in some way or another. They determine how well we communicate with the world around us and how well we communicate with whom we work. If your line of work closely aligns with the work of an editor, then these skills are much more than “nice to haves,” they are the “must have” skills that enable you to successfully do your job. So how can you improve the way you manage both people and paper? Consider these following tips to help you become a better editor:
First, organize yourself.
Both when editing content or managing people, organization is key. But to approach either of these with organization, you must first organize yourself. Both writing and editing is very much centered on the organization of words and sentences. A clear mind and acute attention span will ensure that nothing is overlooked. Similarly when managing people, a clear mind and attention span will ensure all of your bases have been covered and there aren’t any conflicts or concerns you’ve overlooked. To get into this mindset, you must keep an organized schedule and task list for the week. The more you can anticipate and plan for your own projects, the less you’ll be frazzled by the unanticipated projects thrown your way by others. This will allow you to better allocate your time and the time of those you manage.
The old saying “haste makes waste” still holds true. As an editor and a manger, the more you rush through your daily task list, the more likely you are to make a mistake or have an oversight that will cause waste in the long run. It’s worth the few extra minutes it takes to slowly and carefully edit content. This could save much time and hassle correcting an error after it’s already been published. Prevent tarnish to your reputation. Much the same as editing, it pays to also slow down when managing people. It’s worth the few extra minutes it takes to truly listen to a person’s problem or concern and work to correct it. You will build a stronger, happier work force and also gain some valuable input from those who experience such problems first-hand.
Not everything calls for a red pen.
It’s easy to lock in an editor’s mindset on life and start slashing red lines through everything you deem to be incorrect, but there are many instances in life where right and wrong aren’t applicable. When editing content, a sentence may be grammatically correct, but if it doesn’t state something the way in which you would, this doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be removed or revised. This same lesson can be applied toward managing people. Every single person is different and with this fact brings differences in the way we react to situations, handle conflicts and communicate with others. One person’s method is not wrong or right, it’s just different. Avoid using this “red pen” mentality when managing people and keep in mind that solutions aren’t always black and white…or red.
A stack of paper and a slew of problems can cause anyone to become run down or irritated. To keep your spirits high and your outlook positive, be sure to celebrate meaningful accomplishments. These little moments of celebration are the mile markers that make work less mundane and more enjoyable. As an editor, you may have a huge project to sift through line by line. Set a page number as a goal to reach and when you do, take a break and do something nice for yourself. Grab a treat, engage a friend in conversation or surf the web for 5 minutes. You’ll approach your work with a clearer mind and a re-energized mindset. When managing people, be sure to celebrate birthdays, promotions, marriages and births. They’re not paper afterall – they’re people. Be sure to take the time to make everyone in your life feel special and appreciated through a little celebration here and there!
The best tips for managing people and paper are almost one in the same. It’s important to approach every situation with organization, a calm mindset and to be open to the possibilities that your right answer may not be the only right answer. All in all a good editor and a good manager are simply good at staying calm and reasonable no matter what problems they face.