Create a healthy routine to balance your working life and your personal life by taking care of your well-being, an essential key note to be succesful as a meeting & event planner.
We all know that meeting & event planners have a rough and demanding job. It's not a surprise that this job occupies the 5th position on the list of the most stressful careers in 2017, and believe it or not, behind jobs that require involvement in dangerous situations such as police officer or firefighter. The title of most stressful career of 2017 goes to enlisted military personnel.
Life as a meeting planner is a constant cycle of planning, negotiating, and organising. To deal with the daily pressure, meeting & event planners must not only know how to plan a day efficiently but also maintain a healthy state of mind. Check out these tips that will help you get the most out of your working day.
Make a To-Do List
A To-Do list is a must-have item for every planner who wants to be successful in their job. It determines whether a day is going smoothly or will end up in chaos. Sound dramatic? Maybe. But really, it helps us organise and see the big picture of what we need to do, therefore prioritise our timetable accordingly.
Making a To-Do List should be the first thing you do to start your day. When you are at work, sit down at your table, take a sip of coffee or tea and jot down the tasks that need to get done. The first lesson is not to make your to-do list too long. Start by focusin on 3 or 4 crucial items that need to get done.
The second lesson on making a To-Do List is to set a reasonable goal for yourself. Never count on yourself to estimate the time you spend on doing things. Studies have shown that most people fall into the planning fallacy phenomenon - in which they often underestimate the time needed to complete a future task and make optimistic predictions. Always take advantage of time tracking apps like Rescue Time to help you to know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and other apps.
Content Strategist guru Steve Olenski proposes an interesting technique called "two-minute rule" to optimise the small windows of time you have at work. The idea is: if you see a task or action that you know only takes two minutes or less, do it right away. According to Olenski, completing these quick tasks immediately takes less time than having to get back to do it later.
Create a habit
In a commencement address at Stanford in 2005, Steve Jobs famously said:
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
All of the highly successful people share one single secret to their success.
They all form habits.
Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, Starbuck CEO Howard Schulz, Virgin Founder and CEO Richard Branson always wake up around 4-6 am every morning. Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, and Elon Musk are all voracious readers. Apple CEO Tim Cook can be seen in the gym around 5 am while other people like Twitter Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey or actor Hugh Jackman prefer meditating daily to improve focus and eliminate distractions.
Managing your time needs to be a habbit. You have to work on it, consistently and deliberately, until it has become a part of your daily routine. Then, before long, you will notice the small list you created for yourself has become a motivator and the chores and tasks have transformed themselves into achievements, not burdens. Remember:
You need motivation only till a habit is formed. After that, routines will take care of itself.
If you need some inspiration, this TEDEd video shows how small habits can change your life on a bigger scale:
Work in interval
It sounds counterintuitive, but breaking your working hours into smaller even sessions and having breaks in between can dramatically improve productivity and concentration.
After studying elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors, and chess players, Professor K. Anders Ericsson and scholars at Florida State University discovered that the performers who work in interrupted sessions of no more than 90 minutes are more productive than those who work 90 minutes plus. The reason for that is while the cycle in which our state of alertness changes into physiological fatigue happens every 90 minutes, we often dismiss the signal and instead over consume ourselves with short-term boosts of caffeine or sugar, which results into more fatigue and increases stress hormones. The study also found that top-performing subjects tend to work no more than 4.5 hours per day.
Changing your working posture also helps boost productivity. While most people working in office space spend 8 hours or more sitting on the chair, many studies have found that this habit will not only affect your health in long-term but also will reduce your concentration and productivity. A good way to counter it is to get up and stretch your body or change your posture now and then.
According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, exercise during working time helps you to get more things done, have a higher work capacity, and improve your health in general. If possible, take some time during the week for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what's needed to clear your head and get your focus back.
Workout in the morning
There are scientific proofs to back up the claim that working out in the morning is good both for your mind as well as your health.
Studies have discovered that exercise releases the "feel-good" endorphin hormone which helps to improve your mood and energy levels and has a lasting effect for several hours after you work out. Exercise early in the morning has also been proven to increase mental focus and acuity that last for up to ten whole hours post-workout. Plus,a study at the Appalachian State University in 2011 revealed that people who exercise at 7 am or earlier experience about 10 percent reduction in blood pressure during the day and 25 percent dip in blood pressure at night, thus leading to longer and better sleep quality.
Another benefit of waking up early to hit the gym is saving time for other priorities. If you exercise in the evening, you run the risk of being late from work, feeling overloaded with errands that must be done, or saddled with other unexpected to-do items. There goes your workout.
Take care of your diet
There is a saying "You are what you eat" and with a massive amount of workload we have to deal with every day, it is easy to throw away any diet plan and just stick with all the fast food along the way. Also, it is extremely hard to prepare different meals every day, unless we have a system of what to eat and when to eat.
There are many diet plans that are available online, and no matter what plan you choose, the basic principle for a good diet is the balance of the nutrition and the time when you should eat. For a start, always remember to eat your breakfast. The benefits of getting your daily dose of nutrients in the morning should never be overstated, many studies have proved eating in the morning helps you to have better memory and concentration, lower levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, thus lower chances of getting diabetes or heart disease. On the other hand, skipping the morning meal can cause a significant loss in blood sugar which your body needs to make your muscles and brain work properly. Not to mention about the fact that you will probably overeat later in the day because of the lack of fuel from food earlier in the day.
A good breakfast is a combination of healthy foods like dairy, grains, and fruits which are the main sources of some vital vitamines and other essential nutrients.
Most diet plans focus on breaking down into small meals throughout the day, and that is where snacks come in. And when I talk about snacks, It doesn't mean that eating chocolate or cakes every two hours is a good idea. Building a healthy diet plan consists of different fruits and nuts, and low sugar fruit to help you satisfy your craving stomach and also keep you in a better shape.
If you find yourself in the situation that you can't maintain concentration as well as productivity at work, resist the temptation to overload your already full calendar, instead, take a step back and think about ways that help you work smarter, not harder.
One way to keep focused on tasks is by minimizing the interruptions. It includes isolating yourself from mobile devices, and stop checking emails and social media.
Let me ask you this: how many times a day have you had a colleague pop up in your room and ask you to help on their projects? And how many time have you just shrugged off your current task and jumped into fixing their fires?
Here is the ugly truth for you. While it may seem innocent, but that practice really hinders your process and produces a change in work pattern and a corresponding drop in productivity. The possible solution may mean setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or working from home for time-sensitive projects.
Multitasking is another likely culprit of making work less productive. Most people (especially us Millennials) tend to think they we have the ability to multitask, but many research have shown that only 2% of people are actually able to juggle multiple things at once. For the rest of us, attempting to deal with several tasks at once can only result in wasting time and a drop in productivity.
Have fewer meetings
One of the biggest time-sucker around are probably meetings. A lot of companies just hold meetings for meeting's sake, without any substances and purposes. The study by Atlassian discovered the average office worker spends over 31 hours each month attending business meetings. 31 hours is a huge amount of time wasted in a confined room with people discussing topics that you don't have actual insights to contribute.
Before considering to accept the meeting invitation, you should ask to receive a clear agenda from the meeting planner. Ask yourself and him/her whether the information can be shared via email or phone. If you think the meeting has no relevance for you, don't hesitate to decline the invitation.
In case there are meetings that you can't miss, consider to hold standing meetings instead of sitting ones. Research found that people who attended a standing or moving meeting were more proactive and took significantly less time to reach the final decision than the group who participated in a sitting meeting.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and LinkedIn Founder Jeff Weiner are big fans of standing meeting (Source: Huffington Post)
Meeting & event coordinating sometimes feels like a non-rewarding career, but once everything settles in, the event is done, and people had a great time, that's when you can see clearly why you are in love doing this. Therefore, remember to relax and take care of yourself so tomorrow you can get up and be ready for the next challenges.
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