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How To Get More Done In Less Time. Tips For Busy Event Planners.

Time management for easily-distracted event professionals: how to stay focused and productive

Are you easily distracted? You’re not the only one. People in events are usually creative folk who love being busy and juggling different things at the same time.  The good news is that this can help generate new ideas and means you’re good at improvising. The bad news is it can be hard to stick to one thing. 

There’s plenty of interruptions out there, from the everyday like social media, email and text messages to bigger things; opportunities that you need to react to and can take you away from the focus of your business.

If you work in events or run your own business, there will be times when you feel overwhelmed, with so much on your to-do list you may not be sure where to  start.

Do you feel like you could get so much more done if you just could settle down and focus on one thing? In this blog post, we share our strategies for getting more done in less time.

Discover our tips to help you get more things done 

Make the most of the first few hours of the day

Chances are you already know whether you’re a night owl or morning lark (and if you don’t, just ask your significant other) but when it comes to getting things done most of us are more proactive in the  morning. This is the time to get your hardest tasks done but most of us waste it on reactive work such as checking our social media or scrolling through emails.

To help you feel productive, get disciplined and mute your email for 30 to 60 minutes and instead focus on a big task. The feeling of achievement will carry you through the day much more than having just cleared your inbox. In fact, try and limit how often you check your inbox to twice a day. Review what’s come in and make a decision as to whether it has to be actioned straight away or snoozed to your admin time of the day.

What’s an admin time of day?

One of the best ways to manage your time is to theme it into time blocks. It gives certain periods of time (days, hours, even minutes) an overarching focus. And helps you have a plan and routine; something your brain gets used to doing at certain times. It might not be the only thing you do but when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it helps you know what to focus on.

Think about all the different categories of activity you do for work. It could be admin, putting together a proposal or creating an event programme. If it’s something you do consistently give it a period of time and build a habit. Over time your brain learns what to do each day.  For example Monday is for admin, Tuesday is for research, Wednesday is for deep work where you make no appointments, Thursday is for comms and reaching out to people and Friday is for catch up and dealing with anything you need to clear out for the week.

By putting together types of work into categories you now know that’s your overall focus for the day. It helps you avoid waking up and feeling panicked about what to do.

Stop Using To Do Lists

Since primary school most of us have been told to make a list and start crossing things off. And whilst there is a small sense of satisfaction from ticking off completed jobs, there’s a major problem: there’s no end to the list.

To-do lists create a sense of overwhelm. For every job you cross off, three more appear at the bottom. So it’s no wonder we pick the task that’s the quickest to do so we can get if off the list. Or we react to the most urgent and not the most important. And that’s why some things stay on the list for weeks. Having tasks on a to-do list that never get completed create a sense of overwhelm, with unfinished goals causing anxiety.

Block off parts of your calendar

The benefit of having a focus for each day, is it helps you identify the most important tasks and prioritise them. So instead of a to-do list, identify your tasks and more them into a scheduled time in your calendar. Put every task into your calendar, along with your appointments, whether they take 4 hours or 15 minutes. This way you can see what you need to do and how long it takes.

We’re terrible at estimating how long tasks take

Maybe we’re all optimists at heart but we’re all guilty of underestimating how long tasks take. It’s one of the reasons why the to-do list always rolls over and also why we can spend all day sitting at our desks just answering emails.

Some emails just take a long time to respond to, maybe 30 minutes. That’s why time blocking works. Set aside some time to look at your emails. If there are complicated ones allocate a dedicated time to them. Just let the person know that you’ll respond by a certain date and then move onto your allocated task. You don’t need to worry that you’ll forget to respond as you’ve put it in your calendar and you have a plan for when you’re going to action it. Meaning you won’t be waking up at 3am stressing about trying to remember to do it or when you’re going to fit it in.

What do you want your week to look like?

Take charge of your week by putting anything and everything that needs to be done into the calendar. Schedule any weekly, monthly recurring items (e.g. revenue figures). The more important the item, the earlier in the day it should be scheduled, whilst you’re feeling energetic and to avoid the interruptions of the day. Give commitment to your time blocks and don’t cancel blocks, instead reschedule them if needed.

Batch work with sprints and breaks

Batch working means focusing on one topic and doing it well. Start by choosing what you want to batch, by looking at what actually creates value for your business. Narrow it down and select 3 to 5 impactful areas to focus. Sadly, the things we don’t want to do are often the things we actually need to do, so scheduling time helps ensure you work on the important tasks.

For example, each week I write blog posts. The temptation is to write the blog article, post it and move on to the next job but this way I wouldn’t haven’t done the blog post justice. Having spent the time researching it, sourcing images, writing it and posting I need to promote it to help grow our audience, reach new clients and engage with current ones. I have to promote the blog post across social media and in my newsletter. This is better done whilst the topic is fresh in the mind.

Focusing on one topic rather than jumping around from task to task means prioritising. These should be the tasks that make you the most money. If you are a blogger, then its sitting and writing, if you’re a stylist it could be researching, editing and creating content.

Batch working might take up to 4 hours so it’s important to also break up longer tasks with small breaks of 5 minutes to stand up and move around.

Do you get the same questions over and over again?

Once you’ve been doing your job for a while you start to realise that you often get asked the same questions. If you’re working at a venue, the chances are your wedding couples or corporate bookers ask similar questions. Think about all the questions you get asked every day and put them into a ebook that you can send out.  Make it attractive and your clients will keep it and refer to it. You could include layout options, menu tasting procedures, timelines.  Try and think about ways to add value and make booking your venue as easy as possible. The majority of complaints are due to misunderstanding so a guide that answers questions and clearly spells everything out helps reduce this and also saves you time.

About Evolve Events

With experience in producing award winning events, a string of happy clients and a team of individually talented professionals, Evolve Events is the perfect event agency for delivering high standards.  Our team have over twenty one years’ experience in producing events and team is headed up by Gary Peters who has been voted as one of the most influential people in the events industry. Our event services including venue finding, set design, styling and build, AV and lighting, stage management and sourcing entertainment and quality catering.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you produce and style your event then please get in touch and we can chat through your requirements.

To get more event ideas you can visit our blog here or follow us on social media at @evolveevents.

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