Planning an event is a time consuming and stressful job – but we don’t need to tell you that. Event coordinators juggle a number of tasks on a daily basis and with so many things on our platter, giving time and attention to each little thing can be tiresome and can come off as a monumental challenge.
Being aware of this does not make it any easier, many people thrive off the pressure involved in events management and it can be what makes us good at our job. Other times though, it becomes too much to handle and we find it hard to cope, just like everyone one else – this is when the pressure turns into stress and when work stress affects our productivity and our productivity affects our work the attendees and our clients will notice.
This is why it is vital de-stressing oneself so we can increase our work productivity and effectiveness to make sure we keep our clients happy and, of course, live a healthier life.
If you can’t handle stress, you won’t manage success.
The very first step in managing a stressful life is to be able to recognise its symptoms. Stress can manifest in a range of different symptoms – some of the most common are feelings of anxiety, irritability and problems sleeping.
So how to reduce it? We leave you here some tips from self-experience:
- Organise yourself!
Break down the event in tasks
At RSVP Events we always start by breaking down our event in small tasks so we can have a clear view of what we need to do, and this is one of the most effective practices in reducing stress. Writing things down will help to empty your head and understand how to allocate tasks.
Write everything down!
Accept that at a certain point during the planning or the day of the event itself you won’t remember anything, it is normal, sometimes there are too many things and small details to remember for a normal human being and that’s ok. If you have a hundred pieces of information coming at you from different angles in the course of a day, something is going to be forgotten, unless everything is written down.
Have a checklist!
Leave no space to let small things slip through the cracks and cause you a lot of stress later. Before starting to work create you own and detailed Event Planning Checklist. This will keep you on track and ensure that you meet your deadlines along the way and do not let the minor details behind.
Organise your workspace
You are an event organizer, the first thing you need to do is to organize the space you are working on – if your workspace is cluttered or you don’t maintain structure in your processes and so you set yourself up for unnecessary stress.
Start early and plan ahead
If the origin of your stress comes from the constant feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, you may need to give yourself more time and start planning earlier. Use past experiences, if your felt stressed because of time on a task before, next time start the similar task 1 hour before, or when it comes to event organization maybe a couple months.
Work through Your tasks with a strategy and manage your time
Having to create a work or task strategy forces you to stop and think instead of immediately getting down to business – doing stuff without a strategy results often in poor performance and a lot of stress,
Try to prioritize important tasks by identifying the main goals of your event and the tasks that are key to its overall success and focus on achieving these first – keeping track of the prioritised tasks as well as your goals for that day, week and month can really help.
You can make endless to-do lists, but they only become good at minimising stress when they are based on your priorities.
Give yourself time between responsibilities
Going from one task to the next without giving yourself a moment to breathe can contribute to stress. This will help you feeling composed and ready to tackle another task on your to-do list.
Do Not Multitask – concentrate in one thing at a time
Multitasking actually gets you less stuff done and makes you less efficient, besides increasing the levels of stress by frequently feeling rushed and that you weren’t able to finish anything on a work day.
The typical image of the event planner is of someone constantly doing tons of tasks at the same time – this is almost inevitable during an event, but during the planning stage it will be easier on yourself if you concentrate on 1 task at a time.
- Take Care of Yourself
The way you treat yourself is obviously directly linked to your stress levels. As event coordinators, we are always inclined to serve our guests/clients first and we often forget about us. The truth is that exercising, eating healthy, and basically giving ourselves time decreases stress levels.
Set boundaries to create better work/life balance
When time is short one of the first things to suffer is your work-life balance. This means that you don’t see your family and friends or when you do you may find that stress is having an impact on these relationships. Finding balance is an individual process, and it will look different for each person, but consider some boundaries such as:
Disconnecting after a specific time – While some people are fine on being on call around the clock, others prefer not to accept phone calls later than a certain time or only respond to emails during regular working hours. Of course, flexibility, as an event nears, is a necessary part of the job too and exceptions may have to happen. Create a plan that includes both regular days and pre-event time.
Unplug – Set aside a few technology-free minutes each day to allow yourself a complete break; allow yourself to just enjoy the moment and relax.
Learn to dismiss the inner critic – The little voice in the back of your mind is a major contributor to anxiety and stress. Let that critical inner voice know you’ve got everything under control.
Stay positive – choose to keep a positive mindset throughout the event planning process.
Get out and exercise
Taking time away from work to focus on something completely different has huge benefits in itself – exercise is even better. Feeling overwhelmed? Feel like your to-do list keeps growing? Take a walk or a quick run. Get out there and get those endorphins going.
- Get Help – communicate and delegate
Communicate with the entire team about tasks and deadlines – help can come in different ways but it is important to know when you need it and say something about it too. Delegate and allow some of your tasks to be absorbed by someone else – knowing when to ask for help is an invaluable skill.
- Foster collaboration in your team
Is there anything worse than having constant conflict in a team? This is an expense and stress that event professionals cannot afford.
- Don’t be a control freak – Accept that not everything will go as planned
Choosing to work in events has a lot to do with being a control freak. Truth is that seeing an event unfolding completely perfectly is rare, all events will have at least some issues, even if in a small detail.
As a great event professional, embracing this fact is essential to manage stress. Having a backup plan will surely help to avoid major issues for if (or when) things go wrong and it offers a professional appearance and increases self-confidence.
Make sure your team knows the backup plan, too!
- Manage client expectations
Let clients know what your availability is, and which the best ways for them to contact you and don’t make promises you can’t live up to – offering more than you’re able to produce adds tension
A bit of anxiety and stress is quite normal in any event professional life and it’s even beneficial to keep you reactive and on top of things but we cannot let it take over ourselves.
Our stress deeply affects the way we perform and our attendees and clients notice it. The event coordinator should be the image of calm and control on the event day and for that never put yourself second use these tools well and take your steps – it will make things easier.