When in planning mode, event managers have a million and one things to worry about. Time management and prioritization are not just skills, they become a lifestyle. Even the most seasoned event planners can stand to add a few more things to their toolbox. Here are 10 prioritization tips to help you keep calm under pressure and execute on an incredible event.
1) Establish your overarching goal and vision
Before the planning even begins, clearly articulate why you're even having this event in the first place. Then set concrete goals that align with that vision. Doing so will make decisions down the road much easier because you'll be sure that they align with your overarching goal.
"It's easy to get distracted the thousands of details that come with event planning. But if you establish clear goals from the beginning, the rest of the planning becomes much easier."
-Rachel, Customer Success Manager at Bizzabo.
2) Outline the day
To keep focused on the overarching goals, it's important to make every day count. Make sure to start your day with a clear schedule of what needs get done and by what time. This daily ritual will help you stay focused on checking off the tasks that contribute to your main event goals.
3) Make deadlines, not to-do lists
The danger of to-do lists is that once the tasks start piling up, your list becomes endless and more difficult to prioritize. That's why it's essential to immediately set deadlines once tasks start coming in. Having a logical, chronological progression of objectives will help you better visualize the needs for your event.
"Everyone needs deadlines. Even beavers." -Walt Disney
4) Know the difference between urgent vs important
It's easy for a task to feel important because of a creeping deadline, but make sure that the sense of urgency is not distorting the actual importance of the task. Certain tasks add immediate value and others just make you feel busy. The clearer the line is between urgent and important, the smoother your event planning will be.
"What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
5) Use tools that help you focus
Good prioritization isn't only about ranking your tasks. Sometimes it comes down to good old fashioned hard work and focus. To help you focus on one task at a time, there are a number of productivity tools available. For instance, Marinara Timer helps you stay focused for 25 minutes at a time, in what is known as the pomodoro technique. The app Self-Control creates a blacklist of websites that remain locked for a set period of time. Tools like these will definitely help you stay focused on the task at hand.
6) Assess the value of each task
Not all tasks are created equal. Similar to differentiating between urgent and important, make sure you are explicitly articulating the value of each task and how it is contributing to your overarching goal. This will help you better prioritize the important tasks.
"It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials."
7) Stay flexible
Though you may have superb organization and time management skills, you can't avoid the fact that event planning is an unpredictable process. There will always be tasks and obstacles that pop up along the way. To anticipate these moments, make sure you stay somewhat flexible with your deadlines and schedule so that you are able to re-prioritize when the situation calls for it.
"The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings."
8) One at a time
In today's fast paced world, people pride themselves on being multitaskers. However, research shows that multitasking is actually detrimental to our productivity. Instead of forcing yourself to juggle many things at once, give your full attention to the job at hand and make sure to see it through.
"Being productive isn't about doing more and more in the same amount of time. It's about doing only the most important things well. And either saying no to the other things or finding another way for them to get done."
9) Use the right event management tools
Even the best event planners need some help. Instead of hiring a whole team, sometimes it's better to find the right event management software to help you better manage your tasks. With the the right event management software, you'll have a clearer understanding of the tasks as a whole and thus what should be on top of the priority list.
10) Close the day
Event planning can easily feel like a 24/7 job. But try your best to put a hard stop to your work day. Doing so not only gives you time to decompress, but it also allows you to reflect on the day's work. Then you're able to accurately assess your progress and further refine your prioritization process.
"If you don't prioritize yourself, you constantly start falling lower and lower on your list."
When it comes to improving prioritization, there are always more things to learn. We hope these tips have been helpful and will support you in planning a successful event.