The best event planners are organized, vibrant, and energetic – but more importantly, they’ve got a deep understanding of productivity. You can, too – here are a few tips to get you started.
Productivity really is the golden goose of the working world – especially event management. Thing is, no one really seems certain how to achieve it. We go to work tired. We trudge through our daily tasks, and never quite get as much done as we’d like.
Ultimately, we go to bed burnt out and worn out, to do it all over again the next day.
If you’re going to be successful as an event management professional, that can’t be you. Look at all the top people in your industry – all the best men and women – and think about what they have in common. Think about the personality trait which unites them at their core.
No, it’s not charisma. Or organizational skills. Or quick thinking.
It’s that they know how to work smart, not hard. You’ve heard that little cliche on at least a few occasions, I’ll wager. Maybe you’re even tired of hearing it.
But that doesn’t make it any less true. If you’re going to be a great event planner, you can’t just approach work as a thing you do. You need to take charge of your productivity.
Here are a few tips to get you on the right path.
1. Schedule Your Days In Advance – The Night Before
Most people don’t really know what they’re going to do the next day – but you aren’t most people. Every evening before you go to bed, set aside some time to sit down and think about what you need to get done the next day. Write down your to-do’s, put them in a kanban board, whatever works best for you.
There are a few things you should bear in mind when you do this:
- Don’t measure your time in hours – measure it in minutes. A project won’t take you one hour to complete. It will take you 60 minutes. Approaching your work with this mindset will make it easier to set aside time for all the ‘little things’ you need to do with your working day.
- As an addendum to the above, maintain a folder of short tasks that you can do whenever you’ve a free moment. These tasks should never take more than a few minutes to complete – and by storing them here, you can avoid getting distracted while you’re working on more important stuff.
- Plan out time-slots during which you’ll be working. It’s not enough that you know you’ll be preparing a brief for a client tomorrow – when will you be doing it?
- Leave some wiggle room for unexpected events and ‘urgent’ requests. Your day isn’t always going to go as planned, and you need to be ready for when it doesn’t.
- Arrange your day so that it’s top-heavy. What I mean by this is that you need to prioritize your most difficult, least enjoyable tasks first thing in the morning. Do them when you’ve got plenty of energy and focus, and leave the stuff you really enjoy doing for later.
- Work in chunks. Take a break every twenty minutes or so – get up and stretch your legs, go grab a drink of water, and so on. Treat big tasks as multiple smaller tasks instead of as some massive undertaking.
- Respect your deadlines, and prioritize them.
2. Get Fit
Sleep deprivation. A terrible diet. Poor physical health. These are all huge productivity killers (horrible for an event planner) – and they’re all things that successful event planners understand they need to eliminate.
If you stay in shape through a regular exercise routine, get enough sleep every night, and don’t just shove whatever garbage you can get your hands on into your mouth, you’ll look better, feel better, and perform better. If it helps, you might think of your body as a car.
Failing to sleep is like leaving the engine idling instead of turning it off. Neglecting an exercise routine is like ignoring the ‘check engine’ light or otherwise failing to maintain your car’s components. And a poor diet is like putting the wrong fuel into your gas tank.
Combine all those together, and you’ve got a clunky mess that can barely function on the road. You see where I’m going with this, I’m sure. Treat your body like you’d treat a car you absolutely love, and you will see better results.
3. Find Your Ideal Time Of Day
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the standard nine to five grind. Sure, it works for some people – but not everyone hits their productivity peak between those hours. I’ve met plenty of writers and artistic types, for example, who can barely string two words together during the day, but start throwing out masterpieces by the dozens the moment evening rolls around.
You need to figure out what hours of the day are your best – when you’re the most creative, driven, and productive. Then, the moment those hours hit, you need to dive into your work, and eliminate all other distractions around you. Play your cards right, and you’ll enjoy a little something known as flow – where your work ceases to feel like work and you move seamlessly through complex tasks without even breaking a sweat.
To figure it out, you’re going to need to be more mindful of the way you work than you’re used to. Find some days where your workload isn’t terribly overwhelming, and track your time, your work output, and how you feel. Emphasize focus here – when were you the most able to drive out your distractions and get work done? When did you find this challenging to do?
Preferably, you’ll want to set up a spreadsheet of some kind that lets you track your time blocks, tasks completed, level of effort, and mood. Over time, a pattern will emerge. Maybe you’ll find you get your best work done during lunch, when everyone else is recuperating from the morning. Maybe you’re a night owl, who really falls into their groove when the sun falls below the horizon.
By knowing where your peak time falls, you’ll be better-equipped to harness it – and far more productive as a result.
And if you find your Superman Hours fall in a time slot that’s extremely inconvenient – for example, between midnight and three in the morning – you can adjust them by getting your circadian rhythm in check. In other words, you can fix your productivity by sleeping properly. There’s that bit about proper health again.
These days, it seems like everyone’s involved in a sisyphean struggle to be more productive. With the advice outlined in this blog, you can give yourself a leg up in that fight. And you’ll ultimately be a far better event planner as a result.
About Brad Wayland ~Brad is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.
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