The Overwhelmed Event Planner

by Feb 24, 2013

Enter the overwhelmed event planner. It isn’t a secret that an event planner’s job is very intense.  That might be why event coordination was rated in the top 10 most stressful job in CareerCast in 2012. As an event planner that produces up over 150 meetings and events a year, I must admit it can be challenging to keep a handle on my professional career as well as my personal life, and maintain some balance. Most event planners I know can easily get overwhelmed.

Although being overwhelmed isn’t a position we would like to be in, there can be some benefits that go along with it. Being overwhelmed can offer you the unique opportunity to look at your current life situation and make some necessary changes and adjustments. After making these adjustments it is easy to move forward, with  peace knowing that you can get through to planning that next event.

Many people ask me, how I do it all, or if I have any tips that could help bring them balance.  Here are 10 tips that have helped me, and that I hope can help you promote your overall well being.

  1. Meditate on the current situation. Are you taking on too much? If you are in the middle of planning your biggest event for the year, your child has a sick, you have to run to a PTO meeting, and you are in a choir which is performing in a couple of weeks – perhaps you have a little to much on your plate. Take a look at everything you have going on. Meditate carefully, analyze, and write it down to get a feel for your situation.
  2. Find out what is important. Sure, everything you have going on is important right? Not really. Look at your situation and really think about the most important things that need your focus in current moment. Make sure you consider where you place your values. Are you a family person? Are you a career driven individual? Knowing this helps you to focus on what is important to you.
  3. Find out what’s not important. Once you determine what is important, then everything else on your list that doesn’t make that cut – is not important. Well, at least it isn’t important right now. Write down the items that you have on your plate, but they aren’t important at the moment.
  4. Cut it out. After you determine the items in your life that are not important, make a plan to cut them out of your life or minimize them. There is always something you can cut. If you can get away with not attending choir practice for a few weeks until your life is on track, do it. If you are having trouble finding out what isn’t important, ask a close friend to help you. Sometimes another perspective helps.
  5. Lay out a plan. Maybe you are a calendar person, perhaps you like to make lists, or perhaps you like to jot things down on post-it notes (smile). Whatever you do, lay out the steps that you need to take to get your desired result.
  6. Delegate. Most event planners are type “A” right? As event planners we like to keep the control. But, it can be very helpful and important to delegate some items on your plan to others that can help you finish the task. Find some areas in your plan that you can outsource to others for help.  (And yes, your husband can help you cross-check that rooming-list for next week!) Perhaps your delegates will go a little slower, or they might not do it like you do – but at least they will complete the job. Learning the art of delegation is very important, especially to those of us that are very limited on our time.
  7. Move forward and stick to the plan. Sometimes when you go back into “war-zone” its hard to stick to your plan of simplicity. It is very important to stick to the plan that you made for yourself. Adjust your surroundings and make sure that your workplace and your home support your new plan and direction.
  8. Let others know of your plan. Make sure to tell your coworkers, your boss, or your family about elements of your plan that effects them. If you will be focusing on phone calls during a particular part of the day, let your coworkers know. If you are planning to exercise right when you get home, let your family know. Get buy-in to your plan so that everyone can help support your simpler way of life.
  9. Take some time off. Sometimes things get so stressful that we just need to detach. I don’t recommend you doing this on the first day of your city-wide convention, however at some point, you will need to take some time away. Whatever you need to do to detach from life for a couple of days (no phone calls, emails) – do it, you’ll be glad you did.
  10. Do something good for yourself. If things are so intense that you just can’t justify taking any time off, try to do something for yourself. Find activities that don’t take too much time, but are easy to do. Some great ideas are: a massage, a manicure/pedicure, shopping, movie & popcorn, or having beer & wings. Whatever floats your boat. Do something even if it’s 5 minutes, and focus purely on you. Sometimes this trick just helps to re-center and re-focus you.

When I get overwhelmed and life just catches me off-guard, these are some things that help keep me centered. For me, my family is important and sometimes work as intense as it can be, gets in the way. Trying to remain effective in your role as an event planner, pay attention to loved ones, and have time for yourself is the ultimate balance. Hopefully these few steps can help you be on your way to a great work-life balance.

Do you have any other tips to share on how you help balance your life? Would love to hear them in the comments.

Photocredit: Outtake – Nooo!  [overwhelmed] by Andres Por via Flickr


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