Guest Column: How Planners Can Take Care of Themselves While Managing Events

Strategies such as finding tech time-savers, scheduling meetings with yourself, and taking wellness breaks can help planners manage stress.

By Jonathan Morse January 16, 2018, 7:00 AM EST

You may have seen the list of the most stressful jobs that ranked event planners as the fifth most stressful career. While that statistic is an interesting talking point—and perhaps a point of pride for event planners—it has some real consequences. When employees suffer from high stress levels, their performance and health suffer as well.

What can event planners do to run a successful business while keeping their stress levels down? I’ll share how modern technology tools, workplace habits, and a focus on wellness can help event planners manage their work-life balance.

Save time with technology.
Event management involves a lot of details, and if those details are all written down on sticky notes, scraps of paper, and notebooks lying on your desk, you’re more likely to be stressed than psyched at the start of your workday.

You can organize the details, create the best events possible, and preserve your sanity by investing in an event management system. Most systems have features that allow you to easily manage every piece of your events business online—from leads to clients to catering—and give your staff and your clients easy access to calendars, contracts, banquet orders, discussions, and more so you’re all on the same page.

Event planners should also take advantage of automation features. Users can automate email signatures, notes, a daily digest of tasks, and more. If you’re using an email marketing provider, you can sync it with your system and automatically upload new leads. Then, set up autoresponder emails in your email marketing provider to nurture those leads and provide them with information on your event packages and venue amenities.

Make organization a regular habit.
Investing in technology is a good start, but it won’t cut down on stress if you don’t practice good workplace habits. And that means setting aside time for yourself to get organized.

Block out portions of your calendar—even if it’s just for 15 minutes at a time—and schedule a meeting with yourself. Use the time to review notes for upcoming meetings and events for the week. Return emails or phone calls. Cross a few things off of your to-do list. Schedule time at the end of the workday to prepare for the next day.

Taking time out to catch up, plan ahead, and get organized will help you be on top of your game, no matter what last-minute changes come your way.

Put wellness on your to-do list.
Event planners are so focused on the needs of clients and employees that they sometimes forget to take care of themselves. If you don’t make wellness a priority, your health will suffer and that’s going to affect your productivity.

Drink plenty of water. Keep healthy snacks on hand to avoid grabbing whatever’s around, like pie or leftover Christmas cookies. Get outside—even if it’s for five minutes in the parking lot—and take a walk to clear your head and recharge for the rest of the day.

It’s also important to have something to look forward to after stressful times of year. Think about what you’ll do to relax or celebrate. One of our customers told us that she has a photo taped to her office wall of the bottle of champagne she planned to share with her staff once the holiday season was over.

Small changes yield big results.
Adopting technology, making time for organization, and focusing on wellness will make a big difference in your day. These tips can’t take away all the stress that event planners experience, but they can help to make you more productive and avoid burnout. Start practicing them now so they become a part of your routine in 2018.

Jonathan Morse is the C.E.O. and founder of Tripleseat, a web application for restaurants, hotels, and unique venues. Morse has been involved in the restaurant and hotel business for more than 30 years with roles ranging from a busboy at Abadessa’s in Hingham, Massachusetts, to line cook at Atlantic Café in Nantucket, to floor manager at Backbay Restaurant Group, to New England regional sales manager for Starwood Hotels. Before starting Tripleseat, Morse was a vice president of sales for a web start-up that delivered business intelligence reporting to the restaurant industry.

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