(Image Description: Man sitting at desk looking stressed with people reaching towards him with phones, stacks of paper, and watches)
By: Melanie Brem Special Events Coordinator at Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity and YNPN Greater Bflo Co-Chair for Marketing & Communications
When I introduce myself and tell people I plan special events for a living it is almost always followed up with “Oh, that sounds like such fun.” And it is, most days. However, during peak event season “fun” isn’t always the adjective that comes to mind. Over the last three years of planning fund- and friend- raisers, I have found these to be helpful in keeping my sanity.
Before getting knee deep in anything, timeline out every step (even the super obvious ones). Once you have all the steps down, add deadlines and who is responsible for that task. Convey this information to all who are involved and make sure to post your timeline in a place you can see. Make sure to actually check off what has been completed to help you stay on track. I find adding notes along the way allows me to fine tune this timeline at the end of each event.
Learn how to delegate
I’ll be honest; this one is a hard one for me. Once you have your timeline in place, comb through the list and find tasks on there that can be divvied up to volunteers, interns, or others who can help. Before dumping a job on anyone, be sure to type up thorough instructions (again, I have found editing yearly helps to fine- tune these) and meet with the person to explain and answer any questions. Meeting well in advance can prevent any unneeded stress later on.
Scheduling time for emails and voicemails
I attended a workshop once that talked about this and I left thinking that sounded impossible in the culture of people wanting answers quickly. During peak event season, this is your friend. Don’t feel like you have to check your email every time it pings, as long as you find time throughout the day to check and answer things. Same with the phone- use the caller ID to your advantage and send those non- urgent calls to voicemail (remember to check and respond later). If you are on task, you don’t want to interrupt that flow with something else.
Find a solid support system
Before it hits the fan, find these people. Whether it is your coworker, administrative assistant, work bestie, significant other, your mom, or all of them- mentally identify those you can count on for a simple favor or your daily dose of sanity. These people will help you through the long hours, skipped lunches, 11th hour frantic mailing stuffing and sign making, and help catch any of the other balls that have been carelessly tossed in the air. And don’t forget to thank them.
Remember to be you
During peak event season, work can be an 8+ hour solid block of checking off things on a list and processing all the countless items needed. Don’t forget the simple things- water (aka miracle liquid that really can make you better), food (because hangry really is a thing), music (turn on those work- friendly beats and rock through your work), and exercise (I’m not talking about a marathon, just a little something to get the blood flowing). Even on the busiest days, these four things are your friends and can help turn a terrible day into something more manageable.
Once the event is over, and it will be (even when you don’t think it can come quick enough), remember to treat yourself. You busted your butt. You put in the long, hard hours in the office- and all those “what about…” thoughts on your time off. Do something nice for yourself and make sure to find time to wind down, decompress, and return to normalcy.