Managing production schedules. Selecting the menu. Planning meetings. Flight schedules. Walk-throughs on both sides of the city on the same day. Oh, and family responsibilities.
It can be a lot on one person’s plate. But we’re not just one person. We’re meeting planners. And that kind of makes us superheroes. We can do it all. Until the one day we can’t.
This article is intended to give you five real-life techniques used in our office to manage the stress that comes with the profession we wouldn’t trade for the world.
- Keep calm and eat a Skittle. This is a real motto in the A Big To Do Event office. I’m not encouraging a sugar coma, just merely a break from the momentary stressful situation. The sweet, yet crunchy goodness will make you feel better. I promise.
- Encourage whenever-you-feel-like-it dance breaks. It’s not abnormal for us to be heads-down, pecking away on our laptop when suddenly a 1980s classic gets turned to full volume and one of us calls “Daaaannnce Break!” We all get up from our desks and dance for those four minutes. Then back to work as normal. Sure, probably with a couple more giggles than before.
- Encourage activity. I regularly encourage my employees and my vendor partners to get active physically. I’ll drive to a park during a lunch hour and run for 20 or 30 minutes. I’m back at my desk within an hour but feel a ton better. Kelly Treadway (@EventCurious) and I started an organization called Event Professionals RUN Atlanta. The mission is to encourage our fellow event professionals to create a healthier legacy. As a general rule, our work is pretty unhealthy. We work hard – often at our desks for 40 to 50 hours, then on show site 12+ hours per day. And heaven knows, we play hard. Getting active, if even just on a Sunday afternoon for a walk in the park, will do wonders for the soul.
- Plan your work and work your plan. We’ve all heard that axiom before for goal-setting, but isn’t that the same thing every morning? Our goal is to complete the items on our to-do list, right? But then those meetings get in the way. Drat! Our calendars are broken into color-coded time blocks. A certain amount of weekly activity is dedicated – yes, dedicated, nothing else can be scheduled in that time frame – for marketing for new business. A certain amount of time each week is dedicated to project management. A certain amount is dedicated to balance.
- Build in a reward for all of your hard work. It’s really easy, in the words of Nemo, to “just keep swimming” and forget to pat ourselves on the back, pour a nice tall glass of sweet tea and sit on the porch for a spell. But this rest break is essential. We are all just rechargeable batteries. We can last longer than normal batteries, for sure, but we must get plugged back in every once in a while. For every trade show that A Big To Do Event helps to produce, there’s an extra $100 built in for a massage when we get home. For every wedding we produce, there’s an extra $50 for a mani/pedi on Monday. Our staff feels better about coming back to the office on Tuesday because they have been recharged.
I can’t wait to hear how you are managing stress. Let’s interact on Ttwitter. You can follow me @ChecklistQueen. I’d love to hear from you. So would PYM! You can also leave your comments below.