Anyone who plans events is familiar with the struggle of trying to perfectly execute an amazing event while still keeping your sanity. It can feel impossible to maintain a work-life balance while you experience prolonged periods of stress and exhaustion. When you’re in event mode, it’s challenging enough to remember when you last showered, or whether you drank any water today!
Of course, the extra hours and grey hairs are sometimes necessary when planning a great event – but being able to manage your stress is essential. Not only does it help keep your mental health intact, but having control over your stress can have a positive influence on the planning process. After all, rolling with the inevitable punches is much easier with a (relatively) calm mindset.
Here are 5 tips for managing your stress during a busy event season:
This might sound like overkill, but preparing to plan is imperative. You want to make sure you give yourself enough time to do everything. This includes deciding exactly when you are going to start the actual planning phase. Figure out exactly what you will need to begin the planning process, and set a deadline to start your planning on the earliest possible date. Getting the ball rolling a year in advance may seem crazy, but it’s better to have too much time than not enough.
Deadlines don’t work for everyone. Some people just don’t perform that way. However, with event planning it is important that you at least set strict deadlines for the most vital aspects of planning. Have these deadlines recorded in multiple locations so they’re always top-of-mind. For example, you could use a combination of email calendars, sticky notes, physical calendars, agendas, etc. Having constant reminders of when things MUST be done will help you with the overall planning and prevent last-minute scrambling.
Often, we leave things down to the wire. Sometimes it just happens that way due to unexpected circumstances. But it is way better to plan for extra time wherever possible. When setting timelines, play a little trick on yourself and set due dates a couple of days before the absolute final deadline. If there are any hiccups and you don’t meet your due date, you’ll still have some extra time to use if needed. Warning: Don’t abuse this system! Telling yourself you still have an extra couple days when you should have finished something that day will not benefit you. It only makes you a master procrastinator!
Event planners are good at what they do. Someone who is experienced in event planning knows what to do, and how to do it well. However, sometimes this leads to event planners being labelled “control freaks”. For some of us, it can be difficult to share the workload. How do you know if something is going to go perfectly if you’re not doing it yourself? Especially in times of high stress, it can be difficult to pass a task on to someone to help lighten your load. However, no man (or woman) is an island, so learn to delegate! Make sure you give manageable tasks to someone you trust, and don’t overthink it too much.
Bonus tip: Let it go. There are many things in life we cannot control. Sometimes we just have to let things happen. If something goes south, or you encounter unexpected surprises, try not to stress about it too much. Accept what you can’t change, and focus your time and efforts on the things you can control! Learning to make this distinction will save you a lot of unnecessary stress.
The most important tip is to make time for yourself. When you’re in the thick of event season, you may decide that making time for yourself is not only unnecessary, but downright IMPOSSIBLE. The reality is, there’s always a little bit of time you can use for yourself. Do something each day that allows you to forget your worries for a minute. Go to the gym, paint your nails, have a drink, play a round of COD (that’s Call of Duty for the non-gamers among you!). Whatever you like to do to de-stress, put aside some time to do it.
Treat this like it’s an essential job function. After all, prioritizing your mental health will help you plan a successful event. Being stressed at work lowers productivity, and could result in some missed details – details your attendees would most certainly notice. Better yet, the creative juices flow better when you’ve had time to let your brain take it easy for a while. Making some time for yourself lets you get back to the grind feeling refreshed and ready to work.
Using your time wisely and setting strict deadlines is what will help you plan effectively. If you learn to let go of the things you can’t control and take some time to relax, chances are everything will fall into place. You may even find your event turns out way better than you anticipated. Event planning is a high-stress task, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your well-being to be good at your job.
We’re here to answer any questions you may have.