August 16, 2016

Keep the Light: How to Avoid Event Planning Burnout

Keep the Light: How to Avoid Event Planning Burnout

It’s that time of year again! Event season is a pivotal point in the association world. This is the time when association’s can showcase their personalities and put their best foot forward. If your association does it right, your members will think that your event came into fruition without a hitch: Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Your staff works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure a successful event. The endless to-do lists, late nights and constant attention to detail can seriously wear someone down. At some point, your event staff may get burnt out.

To ensure staff happiness and productivity, it’s important to prevent this fatigue.

Plan Ahead and Stay Organized

During event time, you need to be fair to yourself. Your association will need to come up with an appropriate date and timeline for your event. If not, your staff will reach a level of panic many only have nightmares about. Once the event date(s) have been established, your staff should create and mandate a budget. Once the budget comes into play, you can come up with a “Must Have” list that you can conquer quickly. These items should be taken care of first to secure their availability. Feeling overwhelmed yet?

If you have the manpower, recruit an event team that can assist with the planning process. Time permitting, it may be wise to schedule weekly event meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page. This will alleviate the burden of the entire operation falling on your shoulders.

The key to planning a successful event is to stay extremely organized. If event planning isn’t your primary role, make sure to keep your event details separate from your other job-related responsibilities. If your association utilizes an AMS that has events capabilities, your life may be a little easier.

Get Started Early

Once you have established your goals and created a budget, it’s time to get things rolling. It’s obvious that there are some things that can’t be taken care of until the weeks leading up to your event. However, for your sanity, it’s important to get as much done as early as possible. This will leave you with a sense of ease and a couple of items checked off of your to-do list. It’s important to revert to your timeline to guide you through the planning process. The big-ticket items should be the first things attended to. Start negotiating with vendors early to get quotes on specific items, even if you can’t purchase them until later. If your event is having sponsors, get the ball rolling with them, quickly. Make a list of non-negotiables that must be taken care of by a certain point, and solely focus on those items until they are completed. Think long term: What can this event not live without? Once the big pieces are taken care of, the details will fall into place.

Delegate Duties

Planning an event is an incredibly tedious task, one that is almost impossible to do alone. If you have the manpower, establishing an event team could be your saving grace. By delegating duties to others, you will have more ground troops and less pressure solely on your shoulders. As great as extra help sounds, it’s critical to delegate tasks to the appropriate people. If not, it could turn out to be more of a hassle than it’s worth - leaving more work for you. Play off of the strengths of your coworkers to make sure things go off without a hitch.

Learn to Say “No”

If you’re an event professional, saying “no” probably isn’t second nature. However, there comes a time when enough is enough. If you feel yourself getting burnt out, it’s time to either ask for help, or cut yourself off. If you’re planning an event, chances are you will have some late nights with mounds of responsibility. It’s OK to limit yourself to primary responsibilities. To make sure of that, work off of your non-negotiables list. Anything beyond that can become white noise and simply a distraction. Keep lines of communication open with your fellow teammates to ensure that you are all on the same page. This will decrease the chances of them asking for trivial favors and/or requests. If you need to, block of specific times on your calendar to simply get work done without interruptions.

Take Care of Yourself

If you’ve ever planned an event, you know the months leading up to it are stressful and taxing. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself in the process. The people around you are depending on you for your expertise. If you are bogged down and lethargic, your event will take the brunt of the blow. By getting an ample amount of sleep and rest, you will be able to give your best self to your event. It’s key to continue to live a normal life before and after your association’s event.

If you are in charge of planning and facilitating your association’s events, you know the stress that comes with the job. Tight deadlines, late nights, and a million moving pieces, it can get overwhelming. It’s important to always remember to take care of yourself and put your best foot forward. By following the tips specified above, you will be able to plan and host your best event yet.

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