Six tips to improve your time management as an event professional
paul.twynham - November 17, 2020
There’s a lot of time pressure involved in organising events, so effective time management is an essential skill to develop if you want to succeed in this career. To help you on your way, we’ve taken a few moments of our own time to put together some ideas that might help you to develop and improve this vital aspect of your work. Wherever possible, we’ve tried to focus on methods that can specifically help event professionals to save time and work smarter, but you’ll find some more general time-management tips here too.
1. Get into good habits
If you look around the internet for time-management tips for event organisers, you’ll likely see advice like planning your actions in advance and making lists, getting into a regular routine, prioritising tasks and then focussing on one thing at a time, being flexible when reacting to unexpected changes and finding something that helps you concentrate on key tasks, such as listening to instrumental music, adapting your work environment or switching your phone to airplane mode. These good habits are all worth trying, but they can be just as easy to forget as they are to pick up. If you seriously want to improve in this aspect of your work, you’ll need to get into the mindset that you’re going to commit to any useful methods you find for the long term. Keep this in mind as you read on.
2. Training and practice
Changing habits takes time and dedication. It can be easy to see how some new ideas might help you improve your performance, but the process of actually developing such skills doesn’t always happen overnight. This means that if you’re trying something out and it doesn’t seem to work at first, you’ll need to keep putting in the effort until you’ve got it. Once you have, you’ll be glad you did because you’ll be saving time and feeling more relaxed and accomplished in your work. If you want to brush up your time management and other event-related skills, there are also plenty of courses and training opportunities available for event professionals, so this is another avenue that you may wish to pursue.
3. Get advice from seasoned pros
If someone at your company or in your network is particularly successful, chances are that they know how to manage their time – it’s an essential skill for event professionals to succeed, and they wouldn’t have got as far as they did without it. If they don’t mind sharing their knowledge with you, it might just be worth buying them a coffee at break time and picking their brains for some ideas that you can incorporate into your own working methods.
4. Automate some jobs with software
As you already know, putting on events is a multifaceted task – but if you pick any aspect of your day-to-day activities, chances are there’s a software package out there that can take on a lot of the grunt work for you, from following up on sales leads and processing payments to creating a floor plan and facilitating communications between your key stakeholders. While there are many handy free tools out there, the best ones will obviously involve some expense, so this option will not be applicable to everyone. But if you find some software that gives you more time to focus on other tasks, it can be cheaper than hiring someone to do the same work while also improving the image of your event and streamlining the organisation process.
5. Be realistic about what you can achieve
It’s good to be positive, but if you’re too optimistic during your planning process, or if you fail to factor in contingencies for unexpected delays, you could end up in a major rush. The irony is that if this happens, the problem isn’t that you took too long to get any of your tasks done, but simply that you didn’t leave a realistic amount of time for them. Not only this, but falling behind schedule can be so demoralising, especially with the added time pressure that it creates, that you might become demotivated and fall further behind as a result. That’s why it’s vital that you prevent this outcome as far as possible by being prudent about timings when drawing up your plans. Think of it this way: you’d much rather be needing to figure out a way of filling all that spare time – improving your event even further in the process – than rushing around like a headless chicken to meet deadlines with showtime just around the corner!
6. Find a way that works for you
Of course, the tips above should set you in the right direction, and it’s always useful to learn from your fellow pros who have more experience than you – but everyone is different. So although these ideas can form a good starting point, you’ll need to adapt what you learn to fit with your own personality, way of working and lifestyle – any advice you receive within your network will be coming from people who have gone through the same process. There are no right answers here, so if you find a method that helps you work more efficiently, stick with it!