Event planning can seem like one of the most stressful jobs, as it can entail endless tasks leading up to an event. For many, event planning can become complicated when maintaining a steady workflow while successfully planning a large-scale event.
To make sure you don’t lose control of your organization, here are some tricks to help you balance everything at once.
1. Determine a Planning Timeline
Before you start planning an event, it’s crucial to have a vision of what you need for the event to take place. This activity should include writing your ideas according to the event, such as guest arrivals, meals, speakers, and presentations. Once you have an entire event planning checklist, this will give some direction to help you decide on a clear strategy.
You have to be clear with the direction you want to go. That way, you know what kind of event you’ll plan and what tasks you need to complete. The first step is to establish a goal and decide which plan of action will best fit the timeline.
2. Form a Checklist
One of the top ways to maintain organization is to create a checklist of event planning tasks. While lists provide a direction, they also help you stay focused. That way, you’ll know what to do in a specific timeframe.
Checklists come in handy at all times and can either be digital, like in ThymeBase, or on paper. There are countless checklists and workflow apps, but pen and paper can get the job done in a pinch. Whichever you choose, stick to one option to avoid confusion.
Some people like the digital format because it’s quick. You can quickly check things off on your phone wherever you go. However, other people like the satisfaction of physically writing out and then checking things off on paper.
3. Set Deadlines
The event industry is growing each year. New conferences and summits are showing up day by day. Because the events industry is packed, many planners have shorter deadlines. Often, event planners have to work under time constraints. However, you can bypass the pressure by setting a timeline and working accordingly.
For instance, you can be sure to prepare a timeline for each task so you can accomplish them promptly.
4. Have Everything You Need in One Place
To keep the event planning organized, you’ll want to simplify everything by having things in one place. For instance, choosing a vendor that supplies everything you need will save you time and money. For a large event, finding a company or wholesale supplier that checks several items off your to-do list can be a lifesaver. You won’t have to keep track of invoices or contacts from five or more different companies if one or two can cover all your needs.
If you do have multiple vendors to work with, try organizing all the information you need in one place. It’s easy to lose important notes if you’re switching from a phone to a notebook or a computer. Furthermore, you’ll want to take time to set up your file structure, so you know where everything is and can find documents quickly.
When downloading contracts or catering menus, come up with consistent file names and folders. You might have one folder to hold everything for your event, but you can also create subfolders titled with each contractor’s name or service. Every document from your caterer goes into a catering folder. And likewise with venue, speakers, guests and so on.
5. Define Your Tasks for Each Day
The end goal you’ve set for yourself is relevant to the final day of the actual event. However, the only way to achieve that big goal is to divide it into smaller milestones.
Breaking down the final goal gives you an idea of what you need to accomplish that week. So, to complete a set goal for each week, you’ll need to decide what you should work on each day.
6. Let Tech Do the Work for You
Technology can be a trusty tool if you’re using it correctly. Ensure you utilize the proper tools for the right task to help you stay organized. Things can get messy and overlap if you’re using too much tech.
Be sure to choose an all-in-one event planning app with its own features. Project management apps like Trello or Asana can also be helpful when you need to remain organized or want to delegate tasks to others.
7. Use an Event Binder
While digital organizational tools are helpful, many event planners still use physical binders to place event details. Keeping hard copies of specific documents, notes, and other important information can become a lifesaver throughout the lifetime of an event.
When you’re planning a large-scale event, you’ll want to include several sections, such as:
- Contact information
- Communication outreach
- Order of events
- Arrivals and departures
Throughout the event planning process, consider keeping your binder updated regularly. That way, you can easily share information with your colleagues and clients. The physical copies might be necessary if your venue has spotty WiFi or you’re on the road and don’t have computer access.
8. Set Check-in and Project Start Date Reminders
Ever lose track of a conversation when you’re emailing someone? Sometimes it’s easy to be forgetful when you have numerous tasks happening simultaneously. Although email is excellent for communication, you want to ensure you check in with clients and colleagues on time.
The best way to track your conversations is to set a date to respond. When you want to check in with somebody, ensure you set a reminder on your calendar. While these reminders can help you remember to check-in, it benefits the recipient if they forget to respond.
9. Review Information Regularly
You’ll want to review your information as often as you can. Otherwise, how will you know if you’re staying on track? To ensure progress is coming along, go over a few things that need reviewing. This will include looking at what you finished the week before and what you still need to complete.
Furthermore, it’s helpful to look at how the preparation for the event is coming along overall. As the event progresses, you’ll also want to review information more frequently when it gets closer to the event date.
10. Wrap Up Completed Projects
It’s important to wrap projects up when you’re at their finish line. If not, there could be files left un-synced, emails all over the place, and leftover documents on the computer.
Take time to wrap each project up. You can check to see that you save everything in the correct folder and have notes for next year’s event. Archive any emails or files that are no longer needed to declutter and focus on the next tasks.
Doing What Works Best
Keep in mind that organization is about what works best for you. One way that somebody organizes things may not work for you quite as well. So, think about what organization system you like – and if it doesn’t work, you can always try something new.
Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, and she enjoys keeping up with the exciting world of event planning and hospitality. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more life, style and home inspiration.