We’ve written a lot about time management skills lately – as veterans of the event industry, we know that this is a crucial aspect that can dictate whether you fly or flounder. Years of industry experience has taught us that even the best intentions don’t guarantee a job well done. The one thing that can, however, is the quality of your time management skills. To help you master this, we’ve drawn on our experience (the good and the bad) to demonstrate the right, and the wrong ways to approach the ever-demanding event planning role. Here are our suggestions for getting a handle on your time management skills throughout the day.
We cannot stress this enough! Make a list and populate it in order of importance (we know everything seems just as urgent – but without dividing your tasks up you’ll only end up in a panic).
Don’t: Try to do everything at once
Focus on one thing at a time and finish it. Multitasking has been proven to be ineffective – and can decrease your productivity by up to 40%, reports Time.com.
Do: Get into the mind set of ‘there IS enough time’ (even if it seems like there isn’t)
Your attitude going into the week will determine how well you handle everything asked of you. Before starting your day, take five minutes (yes, you can afford a mere five) to breathe and get into the right state of mind.
Don’t: Start off in panic mode
Effective time management skills rely on your state of mind. Bemoaning the fact that there’s so.much.to.do before the week has even begun, results in a ‘flight or fight’ mentality from the onset. This will automatically see your body produce cortisol (the stress hormone) which besides being bad for your health, sets yourself up for failure.
Do: Allocate time to switch between tasks
Don’t jump blindly into another item on your to do list – have a breather between particularly onerous tasks before you tackle the next. Get up, grab a coffee, stretch your legs or make a quick snack before taking on your next project.
Don’t: Use a break between tasks as an opportunity to get distracted
We’ve all been there – after spending hours working on a proposal or creative brief, we check our phones or Twitter feed, only to emerge half an hour later, wondering how thirty precious minutes evaporated before your eyes. Whatever you do for a break, don’t give in to the temptation – and time-suck – of checking your phone or social media.
Do: Make use of some kind of calendar or diary
It’s easy to feel scattered when you have tasks saved all over the place. Making use of an online project management tool – like Trello – for example, helps you to visualise exactly what needs to be done, by when.
Don’t: Spend so much time organising your diary that you end up letting other things fall by the wayside
Whatever time management tool you decide on, it should be easy-to-use, requiring a minimal amount of time to input data. Be honest with yourself – will changing the font and background of your planner really help you to get things done? We thought not.
Do: Embrace one of the most powerful words known to mankind: ‘No.’
Become adept at practising the act of not saying yes to everything and everyone. If something isn’t a life-threatening emergency – or not even on your to-do list, embrace the power of saying no. Saying yes to last-minute queries, needy staff or ad-hoc work without adequate notice is a sure-fire way of throwing your time management skills off course.
Don’t: Become so focused on the tasks at hand that you lose touch with your clients
While we’re all for keeping your eye on the prize (a finished to do list!), effective event planning does require some leeway. Be open to changes – with reason – requested by clients, but speak up if they’re unrealistic. Making sure that your clients are happy – while taking your time management skills into account – takes practice. View the required change with a level-head – saying yes or no blindly will only backfire.
Do: Make use of online event registration software
Without the help of a sophisticated event planning tool, keeping your head above water is difficult. By using comprehensive online event registration software that automatically updates guest lists, manages RSVP’s and allows for convenient registration of guests, you’ll cut down on time spent manually managing the process, and free up hours that can be better spent on the rest of your to do list. What’s more, you can increase your email delivery rate by using software that makes use of a white-listing service.