It is a scientific fact that the closer your event is, the faster time moves. I saw it on Doctor Who once, or maybe it was Stephen Hawking talking about it. Either way, it’s true. Time speeds up. Forget about having 24 hours in a day. It’s closer to 15. But you don’t have to just sit back and take this cruel trick of time. Instead, armed with these tips, you can get the most of your waning hours as the event approaches
Use “Stolen” Moments
Stolen moments are those moments no one plans on having but you inevitably do. They can’t be scheduled but can be counted on. These are the moments in your day when you’re waiting for something. Maybe you’re waiting on a meeting or a client appointment to start or you’re on hold on a phone call or webinar.
Many of us kill our stolen moments by opening up Facebook or other social media platforms. Unless you are doing something monumental for your business on these sites, you are wasting your time. Instead, know exactly how you’re going to use the stolen moments. Keep a swipe file of articles you need to read, set aside an email you needed to respond to, or update your priority to-do list. Figure out a host of activities that take between 1-3 minutes to complete and have them ready so you can use these stolen moments instead of wasting them.
Learn to Say “No” or Delegate
As an event planner nearing your event date, it’s often a delegate-or-die situation. That’s why having a team you can count on that’s already vetted waiting in the wings is a good use of your time. When you have confidence in the people you work with and the vendors you’ve selected, handing things off is a lot easier. If you can’t hand them off, it’s time to get picky about what you agree to and what you push off or reschedule.
Prioritize Your Way
I prioritize based on date, down to the hour. If all deadlines are the same, I choose the quick wins first because when I accrue a lot of them, I ride the momentum and feel really good about my progress. This allows me to tackle the difficult tasks next.
Some people prefer to eat the frog first. This strange phrase is attributed to Mark Twain, who allegedly suggested eating a live frog first thing in the morning because that would allow you to know the worst is behind you.
Whether you prefer to build momentum or eat your frogs first, select a prioritization method that works for you. Remember, if everything is urgent, nothing is.
Eat and Get Some Sleep
It’s natural to steal eating time and sleeping time to extend our days as the event approaches. But when you do this, all you’re actually doing is borrowing from tomorrow’s productivity. For instance, if you extend your day today by three hours by staying up three hours later, tomorrow your decision-making skills will be adversely affected, especially in a crisis. It will likely take you longer to compile your thoughts, articulate them, and process responses. By skipping the essential nutrients and rest your body needs, you are stealing from tomorrow’s success, not creating new hours in your day.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
As an event planner, you don’t have the luxury of turning the phone off or not answering emails for the morning as most productivity experts will tell you to do. This is impossible, especially as your event draws near. People expect the event planner to be available around the clock. Since you can’t hide under a cloak of invisibility, at least you can go offline for 20-minute sprints.
The Pomodoro Technique advocates concentrating on one task for twenty minutes then taking a short break. This sharpens your focus and eliminates distractions without the panic of being unavailable for an entire morning. Who can do that?
Don’t Let Procrastination Paralyze You
People handle procrastination differently. There are those when faced with a daunting task, they merely shut down and go straight to Facebook. There are others who do everything on their to-do list but what they’re trying to avoid. If you’re in the latter category, procrastination can be very motivating for you. Harness that energy and apply it to everything on your to-do list. Once those other things are conquered you can slay the dragon you’ve been avoiding.
Cut Your Cable
Okay, this seems like weird advice for an event planner since most of us probably aren’t guilty of spending a lot of time in front of the television. However, even a few minutes in front of that box (or your tablet or phone) watching a show can zap your desire to do anything else. You can lose whole hours at a time by zoning out, while zoning in to your favorite show. Eliminating it from your life, or at least when you have an event coming up, will feel like you’re getting hours added onto your night.
Unless you’re planning a reality TV event, that television is doing nothing for your career. Ditch it.
Break It Down
Life is incrementally easy in small manageable chunks but when you look at it in its totality, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. When you create your to-do list, don’t think more than 3-4 tasks down the list. It will seem impossible. Instead, focus on momentum and celebrate each task’s completion.
I keep my to-do lift on a whiteboard, not because it’s efficient, but because I derive personal satisfaction from physically erasing my completed task. If you do too, don’t feel like you need to keep it electronically. Or maybe you enjoy clicking on the box to mark it complete. Whatever makes you feel accomplished is what you need to do but just make sure you concentrate on the short-term wins and don’t get bogged down in the long-term. You’ll get there, a step at a time.
As time speeds up as your event approaches (it does, you know it does), use these organizational and productivity tips to make the most of it. While we can’t slow down time here at EventMB yet, we’ll keep you posted on our progress in figuring it out. Maybe we should work on that cloak of invisibility thing too, and maybe even the being two places at once thing.