Prioritizing Business Tasks: Tips for Event Planners (Part One)
QC Event School tutor, Heather Vickery, gives us her professional advice for prioritizing business tasks to stay ahead in the industry. Heather is the Owner and Event Director of Greatest Expectations Special Events and Weddings, one of Chicago’s most celebrated event planning and design firms.
My business coach once told me, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” This is something that has stuck with me for several years because, as hard as it is to admit, it’s the truth. So here’s my question to you: what do you need to do to be the person you want to be?
As event planners, we sell organization. We promise attention to detail and an outstanding guest experience. How can we authentically do that if we don’t have our act together in our businesses and offices?
If you are running around, stretched too thin and thinking, “there is never enough time in the day”, you are doing it all wrong. Implementing systems and strategies to streamline and organize your business puts you in control. It proves to clients and vendors that you know what you are talking about and allows you to keep all of the commitments you have made.
This goes beyond having a separate calendar for personal and business and not taking personal calls during the day (which we all do, so stop beating yourself up for that). So how do we do it?
The Oxygen Mask Effect
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane you know the pre-flight “in case of emergency” speech. You know, the one where they tell you to put your mask on before assisting someone else in need. This seems counter-intuitive, I get that, but if you pass out before you can help the other person, you’re both in trouble.
This is true for your business as well. If you are not keeping things in proper working order, you won’t be able to give the clients what they deserve.
I strongly suggest setting a strict morning routine (you could try doing this at the end of the day also) that allows you to organize and clean up before entering into client work.
Some morning routine tasks could be …
- Consult or create your daily task list. This should be more than a to-do list. Each thing that needs to get done should have an assigned date and time. This puts intention behind everything you do.
- Check in with any team members to ensure they have everything they need to do their jobs.
- Clean up your email. This is a big one! I suggest doing one of four things with each and every email:
○ Schedule it (give it an assigned date and time for completion)
○ File it
○ Forward it
○ Trash it (if you don’t need it, get it out of your inbox!)
On, Not In
Working on your business (when you are doing client work you are working in your business) is important for all business owners. Website updates, accounting, invoicing, blogging, cleaning up your digital workspace (well organized files on a computer are a thing of magic!), tidying your physical space (physical clutter leads to mental clutter) … Whatever is on your list, take care of those things first. Get your business in top working shape so that your mind is not cluttered or distracted.
Typically I think it’s best to set 2-3 hours aside each day to take care of these items. If you are working on larger back-end business projects, you may want to schedule even more time to dedicate to working on your business.
Working on your business includes spending time networking and making sure you are up to speed on the latest venues, vendors, tips and trends. Perhaps you spend some of this time making new connections, scheduling site visits (that are not for a specific client) and planning sales calls. Or maybe you are using this time to submit real weddings for publications or reading articles about upcoming trends so you can stay at the top of your game.