With the New Year come new resolutions and resolves. As an event planner, you obviously want to achieve even greater productivity. This means accomplishing more in less time.
For beginners, there’s a lot of new stuff to digest. Even for veteran event planners, there are always new tricks of the trades to learn especially as trends continue to change with the times.
1. Create a Daily Schedule
Some people like to create a to-do list. While that’s not a bad start, you should take it one step further and create a clear-cut schedule where each objective and agenda has a timeframe attached to it. Sort out everything that needs to be done and arrange them according to order of importance.
The ones with the highest priority should come first.
When creating a schedule, there is no such thing as being too organized. Aside from listing the to-do items, you should also list your time for lunch, break, gym, etc.
Having a schedule and sticking to it ensures you stay on track and don’t get sidetracked by other things that can wait. There are a number of event planner apps that helps keep you organized.
2. Don’t Spread Yourself too Thin
The phrase that “less is more” really needs to be taken to heart. Multi-tasking is second-nature for a lot of event planners, but you have to evaluate whether taking on multiple tasks at once is eroding the quality of your performance.
If you already have your hands full with three projects, and you’re given a fourth, do you really need to agree to take it on when you can have it reassigned to someone else?
Remember, quality is often more important than quantity, so don’t be afraid to slow down and just take on only one or two events at once that you can really dedicate your time and attention to.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”
Working with difficult clients is part of the job for most industries. You may have heard of wedding planners being driven to the brink of insanity due to the unreasonable demands of a bridezilla. Those types of clients also exist in corporate event planning, and you may have dealt with your fair share of them.
Here’s the deal: contrary to what is often said, the customer isn’t always right. While you want to do everything within reasonable ability to meet demands and requests, you have to set your boundaries and learn to say “no” if what the client is asking for goes beyond what was agreed upon in the contract.
Sure, you may end up with a few complaints, but at least you won’t stress and be overburdened with additional responsibility that shouldn’t have been imposed on you in the first place.
4. Break Goals Into Chunks
Planning a major corporate event is a huge undertaking and can be overwhelming. It does become more manageable, though, if you break goals into chunks or into smaller phases. Each of these phases should have its own separate schedule and timeline. Goals are so much easier to micromanage when every component is divided into their respective categories and can be tackled independently.
By breaking a big goal into chunks, you also create “micro goals.” Each micro goal is like a section of a jigsaw puzzle that eventually comes to together to complete the overall larger goal.
5. Set Aside Some “Me” Time
In the event planning industry, time is always of the essence. However, no matter how hectic things get, you should set time aside for yourself. This could be as little as 10 minutes or even an entire day. What you choose to do with that time is entirely up to you as long as you don’t spend it on work-related stuff.
This is your “rewind and recharge” time, so do whatever it is that makes you feel good. Here is how people commonly spend their “me” time:
* Take a bubble bath
* Converse on social media
* Play with their kids
* Indulge in a tasty snack
* Take a power nap
* Watch random videos on YouTube
6. Reward Yourself
Event planning is a huge endeavor, and individual projects can take months especially if you’re also in charge of the marketing, pre-event promotion, and follow-ups. With so much work that goes into it, pat yourself on the back for a job well done when the project comes to a close. A self-reward is in order, so don’t hold back and treat yourself to something nice.
Perhaps you can buy yourself that expensive dress or pair of designer boots you’ve always wanted, or you can take your spouse on a vacation for a weekend getaway. When you do something nice for yourself, you appreciate your own work, which heightens your sense of role in your career.
7. Eliminate Procrastination
Some people think that procrastination is fine as long as they meet the deadline. Even so, it is never a good idea to hold off important tasks until the last minute. You never know what could happen; you could be expected to take on an extra project.
All of a sudden, you now have an overload of work to complete because you elected not to complete the work earlier when you had ample time.
One way to reduce procrastination is to eliminate what is sometimes termed as “pit-stops.” Pit-stops refer to anything that may distract you while you’re working. If you’re working online, common pit-stops may include social media or trending YouTube videos that you can’t resist clicking. Before you know it, what starts as a two or three minute distraction can quickly turn into 30 minutes or even an hour.
8. Take Plenty of Breaks
Take a break whenever you feel yourself beginning to zone out. You may have a lot to do, but even if you spend the majority of time working, the work won’t be that productive if your mind begins feeling boggy due to overexertion. Taking frequent breaks has actually been scientifically proven to increase productivity and sudden flashes of insight.
A good technique to follow is the Pomodoro Technique, in which you take short 3-5 minute breaks every 25 minutes, followed by a 15-30 minute break after four 25-minute working sessions.
Another New Year to Refine Your Skills
How do you plan on becoming a more productive event planner this year? While you will certainly get better with experience, you should also follow some of the tricks used daily by successful people. This will ensure you get better at your craft without getting burned out.
About the Author
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.