Tips for Staying Organized
One of the most effective skills an event planner can learn is organization. The ability to stay organized benefits all aspects of your career! You’ll experience less personal stress if you know where all of your contacts, information, and important documents are, and you will perform your job better if you are always on top of the details. Additionally, your clients will be much more impressed with your services if you are calm and in control of your information and materials than they will be if you’re scattered and having trouble finding things. Organization contributes to your professional reputation, and also to your sanity! Here are some organizing tips for how event planners can stay on top of it all!
A good, old fashioned list
Nothing beats a good list! Not only does writing things down give you something to refer back to later, but the act of repeating details actually helps you remember them better. Some people prefer paper lists so they can physically cross items off, which helps to ensure that you don’t repeat tasks. If you use paper, however, be sure to tuck your list somewhere safe. Losing your list won’t help you in your organizational goals! To eliminate the risk of losing important lists, many planners choose to write them on their electronic devices. This way, you can store multiple lists in one place and they’ll be safer than a piece of paper in your pocket! Instead of crossing items off with a pen, you can simply delete them on your phone or tablet. Keeping a list of tasks to be completed or clients to be contacted seems like common sense, but it’s a foundational tactic for being a well organized event planner.
If you’re meeting with clients to sign a physical contract, bringing only your phone or tablet just won’t do. Rather than carrying loose papers that might get lost or scattered, try organizing all of your printed documents into a file folder or binder. Many event planners use binders to store their physical contracts and information, putting together larger ones to be archived in the office, and small ones for each current client or project. This way, they can easily grab printed documents for that particular client and take them to go. While you don’t want to weigh yourself down with too many binders for a meeting, they can still be a great organizational tool.
Apps for phones and tablets
Rather than using binders, some event planners prefer to keep as much information as possible stored on their laptop, phone, or tablet. Providing you know how to use these things effectively, electronic and mobile devices are a great way for planners to stay organized. Different mobile applications have been developed that are particularly useful for event planners. Look for apps that will help you keep track of contacts (like clients and business contacts), store templates for things like contracts, and keep an electronic calendar.
Effectively using your electronic devices can save you from carrying around binders and files when it’s not absolutely necessary, and actually looks more modern and streamlined to your clients. You’ll benefit from having all of your information easily accessible whenever you need it, and filed away in one place.
Similarly to mobile apps, various types of electronic software are available specifically to help event planners work efficiently. These online or downloadable programs offer features like customizable room templates for establishing seating plans and organizing table layouts. This is a more effective way to plan dinner parties and other events with your clients than repeatedly changing drawings or carrying around paper floor plans full of sticky notes that might fall off!
Calendars and Schedules
Regularly maintaining an actual calendar or schedule is another organizational tactic that seems like common sense, but it’s one that is often overlooked. You might have a master calendar at home that you memorize your tasks for the day from, but what happens if someone calls you to reschedule, cancel, or add an event two months away? If you have an updated electronic calendar on your phone or even a physical day planner in your bag, you will look and feel much more organized. Having your information accessible to you throughout the day enables you to stay prepared for unexpected events.
Online file storage
Using online storage applications can be extremely useful for keeping things like client contracts, templates, and other references accessible to you at any time. Tools like Google Drive and Dropbox let you store important files in a private online drive so that you can access them from anywhere, as long as you have the password. You are then able to log in from any computer and access the files you need. Storage drives like Dropbox also have mobile applications that you can download on your tablet or smart phone so you can access those documents on the go from your mobile devices as well.
These apps are an organized alternative to saving to the files you need on USB keys that might be easily misplaced, or having to send yourself emails full of attachments. Additionally, these are useful for sharing many files at once with clients. Try starting a shared file specifically for a client’s event and place all of the templates, contracts, seating plans, and reference photos that you’d like them to have access to there, rather than handling multiple emails and attachments. As long as you’ve learned how to access these drives successfully on all of your devices, Dropbox and other online storage apps can be endlessly useful for organized event planners.
Create email folders
Most email platforms have very simple features that event planners might find particularly useful for organizational purposes. Something as small as creating email folders for each event you’re planning or client you’re working with can help to filter your inbox into manageable sections and prevent you from missing important details and becoming overwhelmed by long lists of messages. You can customize whether emails are sent straight to these folders, or whether they are sent to your central inbox first for you to organize as you please. As long as you’re diligent about checking all of your inboxes and keeping on top of which details should be filed under which labels, starting an email folder for each client gives you somewhere to store current details where they won’t be confused with other things, and also somewhere archive information in case you work together again in the future.
Transforming your organizational habits takes practice, but it doesn’t have to be hard! Try some of these tips and see how small adjustments can make planning your next event a little easier. If you’d like to learn more about other ways to master event planning, check out the courses here at QC Event School!