Event planners need to have excellent time management skills. When mapping out your time, you need to pay attention to specific event dates, ordering & confirmation deadlines and production timetables. Well, in the same way that you book out your calendar over the course of days, months and in some cases, years, you also need to pay attention to how you schedule your time within any given day.
During an event, your clients, sponsors, vendors and guests are all expecting you to run on schedule. In your work outside the event venue, you should be expecting the same of yourself. Managing your time in your daily work life will make you more efficient and productive, and leave you feeling more satisfied all around. Here are some basics to help keep you on track:
1) Be realistic.
We all have a to-do list a mile long. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started out my morning with the highest of hopes, only to end my day crying in frustration at all the things that didn’t get done. C’mon now… there’s only so much you can do in a given day. The reality is, some days are going to be more productive than others, and things usually take longer than you think. So why not take all of this into consideration and create a daily plan for yourself that doesn’t set you up for failure.
Start with the most important thing first. This may seem obvious, but the fact is, the most important thing is often the most daunting, the thing that takes the longest and the thing that causes us the most anxiety. It’s very easy to put it off and busy yourself with a lot of little tasks, saying, “Oh, I’ll just do this one little thing first.” Then, the next thing you know, the day is half over, you spent the morning on a bunch of little things that really could have waited, unexpected surprises crowd out your afternoon, and before you know it, your day is over and your most important task has gone undone.
Just do it. Do whatever you have to do to make yourself get it done. Afterwards, you will feel so relieved, it will make the rest of your day seem 100% lighter. I promise you, you’ll be so much more productive after that.
3) Schedule your day with time slots.
Once you have decided on your most important task of the day, give it more time than you think it requires. If you think it will take two hours, give it three. If you end up getting done early, great! We should all have such problems. When you schedule your day in this way, you’ll begin to see that your time is more limited than you thought. This will allow you to have more realistic expectations for your day and prevent the kind of frustration I described above.
4) Schedule your appointments in the field in bundles.
If you have to conduct site tours, meet with clients, caterers or tech people, try and limit all of these appointments to as few days in the week as possible. If they can all happen on one day, great! If not, try and schedule them close to each other so that you minimize your travel time as well as the interruptions to the other important work you need to do in the office.
5) Allow for personal time.
Remember, a happy event planner is a better event planner. Don’t forget to program in some time for self-care, family and friends. This is not optional! It’s essential to your mental and emotional health. By taking care of yourself and your loved ones, you are protecting your ability to successfully navigate through the inevitable unpredictability (can you say controlled chaos?) of this exciting life you have chosen.
Got any great time management tips you want to share? Let’s hear em!