The pressures of event planning are no joke.
There are hundreds of people to contact. Thousands of details to work through. And not enough people to help you manage it all.
In fact, year after year, meeting and event planning consistently places near the top of the list of the most stressful careers, right behind airline pilot, police officer, firefighter and member of the military.
Stress is a reality of the job and it will never go away completely. But there are several smart ways to ease the crazy. Here’s how to not lose your mind amid the chaos.
Skip the endless email chain and get on Slack
While not a tool specifically for event planning, Slack is a team-messaging tool you can use to communicate with your event planning staff instead of messy email threads. You can access the app on your desktop and from a mobile app, which is especially handy when you’re running around an event and trying to communicate to everyone in real time. You can also use private channels to share files and confidential information. Slack allows you to search any conversation by subject, making it easy to go back and review details in past conversations.
Build in buffers throughout the day
It’s inescapable: Planning a meeting requires a ton of meetings. It’s likely your days are packed with back-to-back brainstorming sessions, appointments with vendors to hash out details, and staff gatherings to review the event task list. You make it all happen, but the stress eventually takes its toll.
Build buffers of 30 minutes or preferably an hour between each meeting so you can regroup and gather your thoughts. It’s crucial to have time solely dedicated to sitting at your desk and working on your to-do list, rather than dashing off from one meeting to the next.
Leverage project management tools
If you like setting up tasks for your team and seeing them as they are checked off, consider using a simple online project management tool like Trello. This allows your entire team to collaborate and monitor the progress of each task. One caveat: Trello isn’t the best at showing the big picture of your event management process. It’s best used to track completion of event planning tasks.
Sneak away from the venue
Most meeting planners can’t squeeze in time to head out for a run or get to the gym to relieve the pressures of the day. The remedy is to get out, in some way or another. And we mean outside the venue, not strolling the trade-show floor. Headspace matters, and the only way to truly reset is to get some fresh air away from your work.
Ditch the walkie-talkies
Not only are walkie-talkies clunky to carry around and an extra piece of equipment to worry about, they can be completely replaced by a free app like Heytell that turns your smartphone into a personal walk-talkie.
Put it all in the cloud
Not having immediate access to your files when you need them is a nightmare for corporate event planners moving at warp speed. Store all event management files in a cloud system so you and your team can view them from any phone, tablet or desktop computer connected to the internet. Plus, cloud systems back up files so you’ll never lose a document if your computer crashes or if you lose your phone. Two of the most popular are Dropbox and Google Drive.
Take all the smart shortcuts you can
Thankfully, we live in a world where there is some sort of technology solution for just about everything. You can further cut down on the chaos of venue searching and sourcing with a tool like GroupSync, which drastically streamlines your sourcing process. It uses data to discover destinations and hotels based on what’s most important to you and your attendees, including room rate, weather, and distance from the airport.
Whether we like it or not, stress and event planning are part of the package. While some stress can be a motivator to get stuff done, too much stress can be destructive — not just for you, but the people around you and the event experience you’re trying to create. So, ditch your workspace for mini moments of serenity, clear out the clutter, and take all the smart shortcuts you can to make things happen.