Have you ever been so busy that you end up losing sight of the things that make you happy? As an event planner, have you worked so much that you forgot how it feels to have some genuine fun? This has certainly happened to me at some point or another. What I’ve come to realize is that sometimes, you go through seasons in life. Seasons are signified by periods of time, and that time can be bad or good. When you are in the middle of your season, it seems as though you will be there forever. But all good (or bad) things do come to an end, and you will come to the end of your season pretty soon.
If you find yourself in a busy season and feel as though you don’t have a way out, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes that means that the only thing you can do is hanker down, survive, and dig your way out. Over the years I’ve accumulated some tips that have helped me survive my busy seasons, and I would like to share them with you with hopes to help you survive your next one.
Evaluate your situation
Is your busy season due to a promotion or a new piece of business? How long is it anticipated to last? Combine your resources to determine why you are so busy, how long, and when it may be anticipated to end. This can help you gain perspective on keep you at ease while working through your busy season.
Give yourself limits
Sometimes things can get very hectic. You don’t want to compromise yourself or your family. Decide what your limit will be so that when you are near it, you can seek other alternatives.
Pick up the phone
Sometimes the flurry of emails can just prevent you from getting things done. Waiting for responses can just delay action, so picking up the phone and settling complicated conversations could be very beneficial to saving you some time.
Manage your time
Use your preferred time management system, whether it be your Outlook tasks, calendars, or another method. This will help keep your projects and tasks on schedule.
Check-lists and To-do Lists
Sometimes lists will help you focus on what needs to get done. Try even creating a to-list at the end of your day to help you for the next. It really helps develop a sense of preparation for the next day.
Decide what not to do
There are times when you have to say “no”. Better yet, you will have to decide on what projects you can’t do, in an effort to ensure that progress keeps happening on more pertinent projects. You can always revive those projects at a time when things are slower.
Use Post-it Sticky Notes
I am a big fan of post-it notes! Use them to stimulate your brain while at your desk, on quick tasks during the day. Or just as a reminder to add items to your main to-do list.
Do longest task first
Working on that bigger project or important task that takes most of your time, is better than waiting until the last minute to do it. Focus on your bigger project or longest task first, and then work your email box. You’ll find it will make you more efficient, and you’ll get those most important items done.
Block out time for strategic matters
If you need to get creative, make sure you block out the time to get creative. Strategic thought needs mental space, and you won’t be able to do that when you are answering phone calls, and checking emails. Turn off your email, and send your phone calls to voicemail when you are looking to delve into matters of the creative.
Delegate or Outsource
If you are at your wits end, or have the strategic discernment to know you need help, take steps to delegate to another individual or even another organization (ie. DMC, third party) to help relieve some pressure.
Take breaks and Go home (Take time for yourself)
Doing work until 2 am, just isn’t healthy. You may be a workaholic, but your body needs downtime. Make sure you take nice 10 minute breaks throughout your day and when it is time to go home, go home. Work until a reasonable hour, and then take time for yourself and family. Go to a movie, dinner, get a massage, or relax at home.Working around the clock will eventually not be good for you or your employer.
As the summer ends, the event planning industry will be heading into another busy season. Are you prepared for the season ahead? What tips above will you use? Do you have others to share? If so, go ahead and share!