Event managers are very busy people. You need to be able to prioritize long lists of tasks to ensure your event goes smoothly and with no visible problems to the client or attendees. Even the most seasoned event managers can find themselves falling behind if they’re not using clear strategies to stay productive on a daily basis.
The most successful event planners share some common personality traits and skills, and one of those skills is the ability to prioritize. However, prioritizing and actually staying productive enough to execute on those priorities are two very different things. With that said, here are 10 productivity tips you can use to actually get things done so your event is as successful as possible.
1. Use Flexible To Do Lists and Checklists
To do lists and event planning checklists are essential to stay on track, meet deadlines, and ensure you don’t forget anything in the months, weeks, and days leading up to your event. Keep in mind, in the event planning industry, no to do list is set in stone. It will change, so plan to create a new to do list every morning and modify it throughout the day as needed.
2. Establish Firm Deadlines
Speaking of modifying your to do lists, making daily adjustments to address changing priorities shouldn’t affect your deadlines. For example, if you need a contract from a vendor by a specific date, that deadline should be firm. Your daily tasks related to obtaining that contract and other event planning requirements could change, but try to meet every deadline you set. Once you start missing deadlines, trouble isn’t far ahead.
3. Use a Time Management Matrix
There are a variety of methods that you can use to manage your time. One of the most popular is Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix, which he introduced in 1998 in his book First Things First. The concept is to use the matrix to organize your tasks based on both urgency and importance.
Take a look at the matrix in the image below. To use it, you enter each of your tasks into the appropriate quadrant in the matrix based on importance and urgency. If a task is not in Quadrant 1, it’s a distraction according to Covey. He recommends not letting the tasks in Quadrants 2, 3 and 4 get in the way of completing the most urgent and important tasks that are in Quadrant 1.
4. Leverage Productivity Tools
There are so many free and affordable tools that you can use to increase your productivity on a daily basis. Consider using project management tools like Trello or Asana. If you need to manage both projects and team communications, consider using Slack.
If you’re handling social media for your event, use HootSuite to post content and engage with other users more efficiently. Still sending invoices from Word and managing your books in Excel? Consider using a cloud-based invoicing and accounting application like Freshbooks or Xero.
5. Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, and it was introduced in his book, The Pomodoro Technique. Cirillo’s technique was developed in part because he believes multi-tasking leads to less productivity than focusing on one task at a time. Instead, he advocated for working in intervals of 25 minutes (called pomodoros) separated by short breaks. There are six steps in the Pomodoro Technique:
- Identify your task.
- Set your timer (usually 25 minutes).
- Work on the task while the timer is running.
- Stop working when the timer goes off and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- If there are fewer than four checkmarks on the piece of paper, take a short break of three to five minutes. If there are four checkmarks (meaning you worked for four pomodoros or a “set”), take a break of 15 to 30 minutes.
- Reset your timer and go back to step 1 if you completed your task, or return to step 2 if you need more time to complete your current task.
6. Automate Tasks
With technology so affordable and accessible these days, look for as many tasks that you can automate as possible. For example, can you automate parts of your email marketing initiatives? Can you automate some your social media posting?
Email marketing applications like ActiveCampaign and MailChimp make it easy to automate many of the email marketing tasks you do, and they even integrate with AttendStar’s ticketing platform. That means you can automate ticket sales and email marketing all in one place to save even more time!
7. Use Event Management Tools
Event management tools like AttendStar’s ticketing platform — which offers ticket sales, event marketing — and more support for your event, can save you a significant amount of time. For example, you can set up your ticket sales page, promotional text messages, email marketing messages, and more from within the AttendStar application rather than doing it all manually or switching from one application to another to set everything up.
The amount of time you’ll save and the increased productivity you’ll experience is astounding! Not only that, but you’ll also sell more tickets and generate more revenue because AttendStar will help you do it!
8. Delegate Tasks
If you have a staff or volunteers helping you organize your event, use them! Delegate tasks to them so you can get those tasks off of your plate and spend more time on the projects you should be managing. If you don’t have a staff or volunteers, consider recruiting some, hiring freelancers, or working with interns.
Think back on the Time Management Matrix from #3 above. How many of the tasks in Quadrant 4 could be delegated to someone else? In the end, would it be more cost effective to have someone else handle those tasks?
9. Eliminate Distractions
Daily distractions end up wasting more time than you might think. Keep track of how much time distractions eat away from your day over the course of the next week, and you’ll probably be very surprised by how much time it adds up to. Therefore, it’s essential that you eliminate distractions if you want to increase productivity. If you work in an office setting, the first step is to close your office door if you have one.
Next, eliminate electronic distractions. This includes turning off your email, shutting down your social media accounts, switching off your phone’s ringer, and marking your calendar to show that you’re busy during blocks of time each day when you need to get specific things done.
10. Stay Organized
If you’re disorganized, you’re wasting time and reducing your productivity levels. Therefore, make sure you have a good filing system and put things away in the right places after you use them.
You need to be organized electronically as well. For example, take a few extra seconds after you read an email message to file it correctly. When you don’t have to shuffle through piles of papers on your desk or search through pages and pages of email messages, you’ll save a significant amount of time every day.
Your Next Steps
Follow the productivity tips above to increase your ability to hold a successful event. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact AttendStar at 615-223-1973 or use the contact form. Remember, we do so much more than sell tickets, and we really can help you organize an event people will remember for the right reasons!