How can you manage your time more effectively?
“TIME is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent, be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.” Carl Landburg
In the events industry, time is our greatest enemy. There never enough time to do anything and everything. So, how can we manage our time better to get stuff done and not run out of time??
Here are five tips to help you feel more in control of your time:
Create a daily planner.
Before you log off in the evening, create a ‘to do list’ or a ‘planner’ for the next day.
You can list and prioritise your tasks for that day.
You will log off, knowing that the next day is prepared and ready for you.
Understanding the timelines required for the delivering the event
Using your calendar or a project management tool to populate these key dates (and set reminders)
Share these key dates with the client
Block out distractions.
Block out time in your calendar to focus on your task at hand.
Accept only essential meetings.
Ask if the meeting is required, or whether a phone call would help
Turn email, teams, WhatsApp off
Establish a work routine.
You know when you work best, where possible, make sure you are working at the times that suit you best. Some of us are early birds, some of us are night owls.
Pick your rhythm!
Take a break.
You are not a machine, you cannot work 24/7!
Schedule breaks in the you day (and take them), schedule days off (and take them).
You will feel so much better knowing that you have days off planned
Everyone needs a refresh and a recharge!
(photo courtesy of Matt Glover)
I was lucky enough to work at the International Convention Centre for four years. This was a high-pressured role delivering events, dealing with clients, internal stakeholders, vendors and building relationships with peers. All great fun! The types of roles I worked on varied from Boardroom Meetings for 10 up for Full Site lets for 10,000 people (and everything in between).
One of the key things I learnt here was how to manage your diary.
Blocking out (in advance) you Lieu Days and Holidays
Looking at meeting requests and making sure you do not overload your diary i.e leaving at least a 30 min gap between meetings, only having one planning meeting a day.
Setting reminders for meetings and tasks
Using your calendar as a prompt for client actions
Another thing which I found extremely helpful was to ‘buddy up’ on an event. Working with a colleague to deliver the event on site means that we can split the shifts, you are not working long hours, and the client gets the benefit of two experienced managers.
Time management is one of those topics that I’m convinced everyone struggles with at times – whether it’s work suddenly going crazy, the pressures of family or a busy social life.
I personally am terrible at Tip number 5. When I start a project I jump straight in with both feet, including making sure I’m accessible to my team. At The Scouts I’m working in a position where I spend lots of evenings and weekends with volunteers, which means I accrue a lot of TOIL. But I struggle to take it back.
But it’s important to recognise that this means you’re not putting yourself first. And if can’t look after yourself, how will the project fare! Yes, there are times when you have to work longer hours, but take that hour or two to yourself for a longer walk at lunch, or finish early on a Friday to recharge and give your mind a rest from the constant demands of a busy workplace.
I now track my TOIL and make sure I get it in my calendar as soon as possible. It’s also really handy to be able to show my boss how much overtime I’m working so we can evaluate the needs of each project. I’m also trying to start my year with some diary blocking – dedicating each day or morning/afternoon ‘chunk’ to a project, to be able to focus on that projects needs and ignore those pesky emails that seem to fly in continuously.
None of us are perfect at managing our time, we are after all human and get distracted by phone calls, emails, coffee shop trips and social media. We hope these tips and our real life experiences will encourage you to start new habit.
Good Luck! And Happy New Year!