You’re an event planner. You take on the responsibility to plan, organize, and host events throughout the year. And you’re pretty darn good at it, too.
But you’re starting to notice your time escaping you before, during, and after the event.
You want to learn ways to save time while planning events. You want to use your time more wisely so that you don’t feel as exhausted afterwards. And you’re looking for a way to get your team involved in the process more.
In this article, Platinum is going to share the 14 tips to saving time as an event planner.
14 Time-Saving Tips
#1. Start Your Day (And Your Planning) Early
You know that planning an event is a monumental task; it takes more than a phone, a calendar, and a few staff to get the event just right. The more time you can give yourself before, during, and after the event, the higher chance you have of it being a roaring success. From day one of planning your next event to the week following the wrap-up of your event, start every single day early.
#2. Expect to Say No
Your top three list of favorite words as an event planner should be:
- AND No
Did we mention you ought to say “no” a lot? While we joke, the seriousness of time management cannot be understated. Expect to say “no” a lot while you’re planning, organizing, and hosting an event. Stick to your main objectives, and continue to move toward them, full-speed ahead.
#3. Remain Flexible
Yes, we just told you to be ready to say “no” a lot, but it doesn’t mean you cannot be flexible. You will have a ton of questions thrown at you while planning your event. Start with “no” and then work your way toward a compromise, if there is one.
#4. Utilize Event Planning Software and Technology
You are one person, a superhero, really. No less. But the era of manual event planning is virtually over. Utilize software and technology to make your event planning process easier and more efficient. What’s more, software technology, from calendars to communication, can save you dozens of hours per event.
#5. Prioritize Your Time Based on Objectives
While “priority” is a common productivity tip, it wields a unique spin for event planners. Typically, those who preach priority only discuss a dozen or so goals, objectives, or distractions. Warren Buffet believes in his rule of 5/25. It’s a great rule to apply to event planning. Make a list of the 25 most important action items. Circle the 5 most important. The remaining 20 are the avoid-at-all-cost list. While this sounds impossible, it is a great exercise to prioritize your time based on desired outcomes.
#6. Hire Your Speakers Early
If you want great speakers, you need to reach out early to those speakers, their agencies, or bureaus. The worst feeling in the world is having a list of speakers you want to book, but they’re all busy during your event. A great way to book speakers before it’s too late is to keep in touch with those speakers. Hire them for smaller events. Keep them in your sights. And hire them early.
#7. Work Toward Your Objectives, Always
As an event planner, you know how stressful the entire process can get. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your objectives and then commit to moving toward them no matter what. This decision up front, before your event has started, can make a huge difference when it comes to tough decisions.
#8. Implement a Framework or Process
You’re not the first person to plan, organize, and host an event, not will you be the last. In fact, humans have been holding community events for millennia. That’s not to say there’s nothing new to explore, but it does give you an advantage as an event planner, yourself. Find a process or framework that other event professionals have used to successfully plan, organize, and host an event. Use this framework or process to get a few steps ahead in your own endeavors.
#9. Delegate Until It’s Uncomfortable
You’re an event planner. You’re a go-getter. And you thrive in the midst of chaos. But let’s talk a decade from now. Do you want to sustain this wonderful, lovely career you hold so dear to your life? It’s time you delegate. While no one is doubting your ability to “do it all” yourself. The consensus is that you can do what you love longer if you delegate more often — even until it’s a little uncomfortable at times.
Once you start delegating, you’ll want to keep track of who is doing what. This is a great time to create a task list. This is not a ToDo list for you to take over. Instead, it’s a “spreadsheet” of:
- What task needs to be completed
- Who is doing the tasks
- When the task is due
- Priority level of each task
#10. Reduce Distractions and Schedule Time for Yourself
The entire process of planning an event is much bigger than you. Obviously, this is the reason you love events. The teamwork, camaraderie, and the impact it has on the world is immeasurable. The ripples through communities, industries, and more cause positive effect weeks, months, even years post event.
The importance of event planning cannot be overstated. That’s why it’s important that you reduce distractions and make time for yourself. You can do this separate from one another or in tandem. The choice is yours. Balance your “show time” with your “alone time.” A few minutes alone can recharge and rejuvenate you.
#11. Recruit Volunteers
You can recruit volunteers to help with your event, especially if the event is to raise awareness or funds for a charitable cause.
Start with those closest to you. Family, friends, colleagues, and more. Make a list of potentials and then reach out individually. While this may take some time — and you can delegate this to someone you trust — the personalization of each contact can be the difference between a “no” or a “yes.”
Keep in mind that even a few hours or a half day is enough to help. Welcome nearly all volunteers to get your event planned, organized, and hosted successfully.
#12. Bring in a Partner or Agency
Depending on the size of your event, you may want to bring in a partner or agency. In either situation, another person or group of people can really make the process more enjoyable and less stressful. Your time as the event planner is super valuable, and you can delegate when you have other professionals you trust around you.
#13. Consider Your Event Planning at Scale
Some find this to be a silly exercise, but to consider what may happen to your plan at a larger scale is a great way to see if you can make your framework or process successful on a larger playing field. Also, a plan at scale may reveal a blind spot or two that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise at your current level of engagement.
#14. Plan for the Unexpected
The unknown will occur at your event. Expect it to show up in one form or another. That’s why it’s great to scale your event up, see how it performs, and then consider the gaps in your process. What’s more, when you challenge yourself and your staff to think outside the box, you leverage your imagination, which is a pretty powerful tool. Ask yourself “What if…” and see what you come up with. Then, have a plan in place to handle said unexpected occurrence.
There are a dozen words that can define the impact you have on people as an event planner. You spend hours working to create an experience for a group of people. You’re practically the unsung heroes of event planning profession, whether it be for conference or corporate. And that’s why it’s important that you start early, protect your time, and delegate your way to success.
Here are the takeaways from this article:
- Start Your Day (And Your Planning) Early
- Expect to Say No
- Remain Flexible
- Utilize Event Planning Software and Technology
- Prioritize Your Time Based on Objectives
- Hire Your Speakers Early
- Work Toward Your Objectives, Always
- Implement a Framework or Process
- Delegate Until It’s Uncomfortable
- Reduce Distractions and Schedule Time for Yourself
- Recruit Volunteers
- Bring in a Partner or Agency
- Consider Your Event Planning at Scale
- Plan for the Unexpected
Do you need speakers for your upcoming events? Take a look at the Platinum Speakers Agency roster for top industry speakers in motivation, inspiration, HR, and more. Contact Platinum today to learn more.
I appreciate that you mentioned that you should expect for the unknown to happen at your event in one way or another. I feel like in order to help with that it would be smart to look into hiring event security that could help you have better control of everything. That would probably help make sure that your event and its participants could be safer and that there would be fewer unknown variables happening.