If you’re anything like me, you have an embarrassing story about work intruding on your personal life. I once missed a lunch I’d agreed to host at my daughter’s elementary school; she has only just recently forgiven me.
Once again Event Coordinator was listed as the 5th most stressful job in America (behind Firefighter, Police Officer, Enlisted Military Personnel, and Airline Pilot!); long hours that take a toll on our personal lives are an unfortunate part of the job.
Fortunately, it IS possible to reduce some of the major time drains so you have more time for loved ones. Here are some things I recommend to manage your time (and ensure you don’t leave your lunch-less daughter in tears).
- Invest in your well-being: No matter how organized you are, planning events is a LOT of work. You need to function at your best if you’re going to complete your to-do list without work intruding on your personal life. Setting aside time for your personal well-being is essential for running on all cylinders. Take small breaks, exercise, and eat healthy snacks to stay in your peak state all day long. Be sure to take vacations and time away from work so you can recharge and stay motivated. We walk this walk at Hubb; all employees have unlimited paid-time off (and are required to take a minimum of two weeks each year), we have an onsite gym with yoga classes and personal trainer sessions during work hours, and we have a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks (and a lot of Red Vines...some vices are unavoidable!). Red licorice aside, we find these things significantly increase our productivity. They can do the same for you.
- Pro-actively plan for efficiency: A lot of the time sucks in your schedule probably wouldn’t surprise you. If you take the effort to map out where you’re spending your time, then identify which things are the biggest time sucks, you can then put a plan in place to reduce them. We recently wrote about the all too common email time suck. By ensuring consistent and up-to-date event information, you can reduce the number of emails demanding your attention, turning a potential avalanche into a light dusting. Look at where you spend significant amounts of time to identify other potential time sucks; investing an hour today can save you ten hours next week in the future.
- Avoid Multi-Tasking: This one is tough, since event manager is essentially a synonym for “multi-tasking extraordinaire” but let’s face it: no matter how good of a multi-tasker you think you are, science says you’re not. The human brain just isn’t set up to multi-task. Set aside blocks of time to work on one (and one only) task and you’ll get more done in less time. Also, set aside time where you’re not going to check your email (or see email notifications), your phone is off, and you’re not going to look at social media.
- Technology is your friend: If you do it right, technology can be a huge time saver (improperly used, it can be a huge time suck—we’re looking at you, email). Strategically think about how technology can save you time. One such way is through project management software, such as Basecamp or Asana, that can organize your tasks, keep you on schedule, and help you delegate. Also, think about tools that can automate tedious tasks. Hubb is a great example of this.
- Schedule time for your personal life: You’re much more likely to spend time with your family or significant other if you put it in your schedule. Treating relationships like a work client may seem odd, but it works; you wouldn’t skip out on a client meeting in your calendar, nor should you for an appointment with your personal life.
- Work at being productive: Being a skilled time manager isn’t something that just happens; it’s a skill you develop. Our tips are things you should work at or invest in. Commit to being a being skilled at time management and continually strive to identify techniques that work for you, your work, and your life. There are a lot of helpful podcasts that share productivity tips (here’s a helpful round up of good ones). Find your own way to continually grow as a time manager.
Our mission at Hubb is to improve the lives of conference and meeting managers everywhere by bringing order out of the chaos of event management. We hope these tips helped! If you want to learn more about making technology your friend, watch the recording of our recent webinar, Simple Ways to Use Technology to Improve Your Events, embeded below!
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