Though at first listen the life of an event planner sounds magical and exciting – which it totally can be and is a lot of the time – it doesn’t take a lot of thinking or personal attempt at planning even something as small as a get together with friends to realize just how stressful planning an event often can be. No matter how many events you host, unless you always recycle the exact same format and attendee list, you’re likely to feel yourself breaking in sweat over the stress of it all sooner or later.
After all, as an event planner you practically become the president of multitasking. You not only have to figure out the guest list but do everything to manage said guest list from inviting them to answering any queries from them to ensuring there’s space reserved for them at the venue, especially if it includes a hotel stay. In addition you have a budget to plan out – and then stick to! If you’re a seasoned event planner you may already know that to be surprisingly difficult, but it’ll come as quite the shock to those just starting out. Add to that your boss’s expectations, your own nerves and jitters of how the event will turn out to be, and a whole bunch of surprises jumping out of the bushes along the way, and you’re ready to be a wreck in five minutes flat!
To minimize the chaos and ensure you can lower your stress when planning an event, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that can prove to be helpful – possibly even vital – to you. Depending on the type of your event, not all of these may be applicable to you, but we highly encourage you to go through the list to get clear on the tips that do apply to you, and then get to utilizing them!
Discuss with your boss all the needed event details before you get to planning
Before you do anything else, unless you have no one above you to report to, take a moment to hatch out as many of the basic details with your boss before you form any sort of an action plan. By knowing clearly and ahead of time what’s expected of you makes it a whole lot easier for you to put together a spectacular event and saves you so much trouble and stress. Or at least so we hope!
Put together an executable action plan
In order to make the event planning happen, you need a plan for how you’ll make it happen – or at least you should have one! This doesn’t have to be fully detailed, but drafting together something that makes it clear to you what’s expected by others of the event, and what you want the event to be, and how you intend to achieve those two points together, will aid in accomplishing everything you’re about to set yourself to do.
Make as detailed of a schedule as possible ahead of time
Of course, no matter the amount of scheduling you do, there will always be some hidden happenings here and there that can throw a part of your schedule upside down, at least momentarily. However, when you schedule in advance all that needs to be done for your event you are making it easier for yourself to stay on top of all the planning and organizing you need to do and when to do it by, the likelihood you’ll forget anything important decreases majorly, and perhaps best of all this way you also get to not only make time for yourself in the hectic schedule but also get to enjoy the me-time entirely guilt free when you can trust every part of your event being on the track you set it on when you created the schedule! By mapping out your event in such detail in advance allows you to have time for yourself even during the busy times, and this in turn will make your stress levels wonderfully decrease.
Get clear on how much time each task takes
As you create the plan and the schedule, it may be good to also map out the approximation of how much time each task takes to complete. This way you’ll know how much time to allocate for each one on the schedule ahead of time, perhaps by even including a bit of extra time for the most important ones, and you’ll save yourself the nasty surprise of running out of time.
Create goals that are actually realistic and possible to achieve
If you reach for the stars and the moon, you’re only setting yourself up to fail and to get super stressed in the process. It’s absolutely OK to be ambitious, very few great events are put together through laziness and no effort, after all, but it’s also absolutely OK to acknowledge your limitations and constraints, whether that’s budget or time or human resources or even just your mental and physical health.
Hire a planning committee to which you can delegate some of the duties to
Even if you’re the one put in charge of the event doesn’t mean you have to do the mountain of work all by yourself! Depending on the size of your company or the resources around you, the committee you hire for the helping duty may be working for you in an official capacity or simply as volunteers. But either way, take a moment to think of a few people in your proximity you know to be capable and trustworthy, and don’t be afraid to ask for their assistance! This would be good to do already when you’re creating the schedule – mapping out which of the responsibilities can be delegated to others, so you’ll know just how many helpers you’ll need, and then go and delegate! You may want to have sturdy deadlines and ask for regular progress updates, but remember not to micromanage; after all, you’re delegating these duties in order to decrease your stress and make the work more manageable, not so that you can add stress for even more people around you. Trust that they’ll be able to do the work and be pleasantly surprised by their results, all the while keeping your sanity intact!
Spend that me-time relaxing and not giving a thought to work
OK, we just said “relaxing”, but you are totally allowed to get active and sweaty during your me-time if you so wish. Whether your choice of relaxing is gym or yoga, a bubble bath or an evening lazy on the couch with Netflix on the roll, it’s vital for you to commit to some of these activities that take you far away from the buzz and busyness of your work in order to let you recharge those batteries that help you stay alert and creative. Not to mention the wonders they’ll do to your stress levels – after all, what good does it do for you to plan an event if you land in the hospital with a cardiac arrest on the big day?
Stick to the budget you set!
Most, if not all, event plans come with a budget. Now, we all know already how next to impossible it is to stick to those budgets, largely due to the unexpected surprises and changes and obstacles we face the deeper into the event planning process we get. However, it still remains absolutely vital for you to do what you absolutely can not to exceed that budget. It may bring about some temporary stress, but trust for it to lower your stress in the long term. Not to mention, sometimes having to get creative with how you can manage to stick to your budget is exactly what the event needs!
Take your time to choose the venue but don’t wait until it’s too late to book one
One way with which you can stick to your budget – and keep your stress levels manageable – is by choosing a venue that won’t come with any sudden additional expenses or the threat of getting cancelled last minute. The venue is one of the most important aspects of planning your event, and is well worth the time you take to do your due research before settling on one venue. Just remember to do it early enough in the process that by the time you make your decision your dream venue won’t already be booked by someone else!
Try your best to set everything up in a way that decreases last-minute changes and surprises to a minimum
That might mean a backup plan, or air tight contracts with your venue and caterers, or penalties to impose on guest speakers or others that may otherwise be tempted to cancel on the engagement. Sit down with your planning committee, if you have one, and spend an afternoon or two brainstorming all the possible unexpected scenarios that you might face, and then come up with ways with which you can minimize their effect or even evade them altogether.
Take everything from weather to technology mishaps into account in your planning
Sometimes it just can’t be helped; a thunderstorm strikes the city the day of your event or you run into trouble with some of the technology you need to use for the event. But if you’ve already thought of them as possibilities beforehand, like mentioned in the above point, you’ll have a plan to put in action in case they come to happen.
Don’t panic when the inevitable surprises do jump out
Even if you do plan for the surprises and changes ahead of time, if and when they do arrive, they’ll still cause a spike in your stress levels, there’s no doubt about it. But you can’t let yourself panic because you’ll drop the ball if you do, and the stress that follows will be multiplied in magnitude. Instead, find a technique that works for you in avoiding panic, and handle these surprises like the boss you are.
Form a backup plan
Because nothing is ever absolute and there’s always the chance of something going wrong, it’s good to have a backup plan ready to be executed if need be. Hopefully you won’t need it, but if you do that’s great, you’ve just saved yourself from a ton of panic and stress.
Utilize social media if your event is an open one
Social media is an incredible marketing tool in today’s world. Not only is it not costly, but nearly everyone is on there, making it possible for you to reach the audience you’re hoping would attend this event. By getting a lot of attendees to your event you are ensuring its success, and in turn you’ll find it easier to sleep at night because the worry of whether anyone will come will have decreased.
Automate everything that can be automated
Are there any tasks that are a vital part of making the event happen but aren’t necessarily the top priority or don’t otherwise absolutely need the manual labor? Automate them! Your social media posts, for example, can easily be scheduled for publishing, and if you put aside a few hours to do it, you can reserve the times you’d otherwise be spending putting together your next social media post on something else constructive.
Check data from previous events of similar style
Have you held a similar event before or has your company held one before? In that case, get your hands on the data from those events that hopefully exists, examine it, and learn both what to do and what not to do with your event from them.
Understand that prioritizing is key
The simple truth when planning an event is that not all aspects of it are equal in priority. Understand this, recognize the order of priority, and if push comes to shove, take a deep breath and let go of the ones at the bottom of the list, knowing that as much as you would’ve loved to include them, you can have a great event even without them. Had you not done this, however, you might find yourself scrambling to figure out what you can and cannot let go just mere days before the event.
Stay healthy throughout the planning process
Naturally some health-related things just cannot be avoided no matter what we do, but by maintaining a healthy lifestyle during this busy and stressful time of your life, you’re at least minimizing the chance of any avoidable mishaps happening. Besides, a healthy lifestyle will have you feeling better on both a mental and a physical level, and it’ll also keep your brain working at its best capability.
Keep written notes of everything
This way you can keep going back to any and every point of your planning process whenever you need to and no important information will accidentally get lost. It’s up to you whether you’ll use an app on your phone, a program on your laptop, or write it down by hand in a physical notebook.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It’s surprising sometimes just how much our ego goes against this point. But if you’ve hit a wall, it’s much better to ask for help, whether it’s advice you need about something you don’t know or a helping hand for something you just don’t have the time to do, than continue to try and struggle your way through it alone.
If possible, start with your least favorite task
Lastly, if possible, start your event planning process with the task you’re least eager to do. We all know every project has one and it’s sadly never an unimportant one. But if you do it first, then it’s done and over with quicker, and you’ll enjoy the rest of the planning so much more than if you keep the task looming over your head until the last minute.
How many of these tips and tricks to reduce stress when planning an event do you consider potentially helpful for you? How many of them are you already employing in your event planning process? If you need any further ideas to start planning your next event, keep browsing around our site!