The meetings and events industry – especially during event season – is unrelenting. As a planner, you bounce from meeting to trade show, working nonstop to make each event perfect. What gets neglected? Quite often it's your mental and physical health. When it’s that time of year when "to-do" lists and timelines overtake your life, it's best to come prepared. While you might not be able to change your event schedule or the level of work required to pull each one off, you can plan ahead to make life a little bit easier. It comes down to making a few small changes so that you can manage stress before your event.
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
You plan your event down to the second. Your work calendar is loaded with meetings, site visits, tastings with catering, and more. In addition to those immovable activities, use your knowledge of upcoming events and the busy times to set aside time for yourself. Backward map the weeks leading up to your next event. Identify when you can carve out a few moments for yourself. You know, as the event gets closer, it will take over every aspect of your life. Try to plan around that. Sometimes simply carving out time on your calendar that others can’t schedule over to complete time-consuming tasks that might otherwise get pushed until the wee hours of the night can alleviate your daily burden.
Write Everything Down
You love your brain, it’s great. But in the throes of an event, you have to accept that at a certain point you won’t remember anything. When 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. Record all to-dos and thoughts in one place. You always have your phone, consider using Notes or a cloud-based app. Choose a tool that will be available anywhere, anytime. If it can be viewed from your phone and your computer, it gets bonus points. Writing down everything may seem tedious, it is, but when you’re about to go onsite and have staff mentioning one thing for you to fix after the next, you’ll be happy you did.
Recognize When You’ll Hit A Wall
There’s a point in the planning process, whether for a few hours or a few days when you’ll hit a wall. You can’t avoid it, but you can be at peace with it. Be gentle with your sleep-deprived, stressed out self. We all know that event planning is one of the top ten most stressful jobs you can have. There’s a good reason for that! The hours are uncontrollable and you’re creating an experience from nothing. As you plan events, listen to your body. If your brain refuses to answer questions or you find yourself zoning out in meetings, take a little time to recharge. If hitting a wall is a routine part of your process – build it in! You might lose all energy the week before you start setting up onsite. Plan for it! Set aside an hour or two to do what you can to reset your batteries.
Carve Out Moments for Yourself to do Non-Work Activities
What calms you down? Work can’t be your whole life, even if it feels like it is. What gets you motivated to take on the day or centers you after you’ve spent hours dealing with an unexpected change in plans? Make a list of those things and refer to it when you need a break. Better yet, add at least one activity to your weekly schedule as a non-negotiable. If you aren’t feeling fit and calm, you won’t be able to react positively to whatever gets thrown at you.
- Meditation to recenter
- Work out for energy and a sense of accomplishment
- Binge TV to give your brain a chance to reset
- Bake or cook something new
- Journal to let your thoughts out
- Draw or doodle
- Read a great new book
Manage Your Stress
Stress is ever-present and hard to get rid of completely. If not managed, stress can manifest in other ways throughout your body. From headaches to stomach problems, anxiety to anger, stress wreaks havoc on all parts of our life. Event planning is exhilarating, challenging, and exciting, but it’s also time-consuming, stressful and, at times, more than you bargained for. By creating some sort of work-life balance, you’ll be better in both aspects of your life.
Did you know that the stress of events actually extends to your attendees? And that certain age-groups struggle with stress more than others? Find out why, and more about what's on the minds of your attendees in our new on-demand webinar.