Mindfulness for event managers

Mindfulness for event managers is important. Events Management hovers around number six on the list of most stressful jobs, just behind life threatening careers. In an industry which is fast paced, demanding and intense, how do we maintain a level of calm? It’s easy to forget the world around you when you’re focused on the job at hand. Whilst it’s great to be passionate about your career, there are ways to work hard which don’t come with a one-way ticket to burn out. 

Don’t let your mind run away with you

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed makes you feel vulnerable, and as event managers, we often feel like we’re solely responsible for the success of the event. If this is you, you need to get out of your own head and back to reality.

Don’t taunt yourself with the what-ifs. Don’t get me wrong, to a certain extent it’s good to think of potential issues (see below), but there’s a line. It’s important to not catastrophise. A good way to snap back to reality is to ask yourself “how important is this on a scale of one to death”? If no one is going to die, it’ll probably be all right. If there is a risk of death, you should probably re-do your RAMS and risk assessments.

Take some time for you

Sometimes, when you’re in the throes of a busy event season, it feels like every second is precious. We all know what it feels like to have just finished your schedule and have a member of management decide that’s the point they want to trial a new format. While your initial response might be to cry, scream, or hide, this is undoubtedly not the best use of your energy. 

Taking time for yourself changes everything. It will reduce your stress levels, which in term will make your decision making much better. You’ll be in a better position to react to situations in a way that is informed by logic and sense, rather than emotion.

‘A bit of me time’ means something different to everyone. Some of the common answers around our office were taking a bath, having a glass of wine, or lounging on the sofa watching the latest trash TV show.

Exercise to release endorphins

The importance of exercise is something that I haven’t been able to fully appreciate until now. It’s only in the last 6 months that I’ve discovered that my time to go to the gym is 6am. Although I’ve never been a morning person, it’s the only time I actually have the inclination to get up and go. Maybe because I’m too tired to talk myself out of it. 

Why is this relevant? Because there is a direct correlation between how good my day is and whether or not I’ve been to the gym. If I’ve not gone in about 2 weeks, I don’t feel like myself. If you need to be on your A-game, get that exercise in.

Know your plan A, B, and C

We often say that the sign of a good event manager isn’t how well you execute plan A, it’s how quickly you can come up with plan F and put it into action. Taking some time to work out where you think the pinch points might be will be well worth it. The best way to do this is to walk through the delegate journey, from them arriving to leaving. This could be a good time to incorporate some training and walk someone through your processes. Additionally, they may have questions that you haven’t thought of.

Once you’ve anticipated potential problems, try to come up with some solutions. If you’re running a conference, what’s the plan if a speaker is running late or has to pull out at short notice? If your event is a drinks reception, what happens if more people turn up than you’ve planned for? The reassurance of knowing your plan A, B and C relieves some of the mental stress surrounding an event. As we all know though, a large part of being an event manager is being able to think on your feet when things don’t quite go to plan. Which leads me nicely into my next point…

Accept that things go wrong

It happens. It will happen. All the prep we do prior to an event is to make sure that as few things as possible go wrong, but when it comes down to it, something usually happens. You just have to pray to the Gods of catering and production that it’s something small.

If something doesn’t quite go to plan, take a look at the issue with calmness and logic. Take a few deep breaths, and a minute to yourself if you need to. Try to boil down what the problem is in its most basic form and come up with a solution from there. What’s really happening when you panic is your fight or flight instinct kicking in, and let’s be honest, there’s probably not anything wrong that’s going to kill you. Fight it is.

Look at the past proof

If you’re reading this, I can only assume that you are an event manager. I can also assume that you’re in that position because you’ve either already proved you’re capable of doing your job, or possess the right skillset to deal with the situation. We’ve all had to deal with hard things before, inside and outside of work. When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, try to remind yourself that you’ve dealt with hard things before, and you can do it again. So stay calm, and as George Michael said, you gotta have faith. 

Prioritise

A major cause of stress as an event manager is an overwhelming to-do list and a believing that you’re superhuman. By writing a to-do list which is nowhere near achievable, you’re  just torturing yourself. Be realistic with your plans.

Having a master to-do list somewhere is fine, we use Asana. I would encourage you to be more mindful of what you add to your daily/weekly to do lists. Instead of writing 20 things per day, try to narrow it down to three things you really need to get done. You can’t have more than three things on your list, you have to prioritise. I can guarantee that the level of satisfaction you will achieve will make you feel so much more content and less stressed. This can often then lead to diving into something else on the list because you have so much energy! But the key is you don’t have to do anything else. You just have to do those three things. This will take the paralyzing power away from perfection.

We hope this article has given you a few tips on how you can feel calmer, less stressed, and be more final in your day to day life, but particularly at work. Your career in events will undoubtedly be intense, but that’s where the thrill comes from. The thrill is healthy the whole time it’s motivating you, but it’s important to remain mentally well, and as far away from burning out as possible. If you’re looking for some want to help take the pressure off of your plate get in touch with the team today .

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