"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Benjamin Franklin
I know Mr. Franklin was not an event planner by trade, however his wisdom carries into every industry. As an event planner you are very familiar with stress.However, if your goal is BURNOUT here are the simple steps:
1. Keep all of your notes in one place
Even better. Keep them all stored on the cloud and lose your password right before your event. Don't bother to print a hard-copy - what's life without a few risks?
2. Don't backup your electronic calendar
Computer crash, lose your iPhone? Perfect! Now you don't know where to be or when to be there. Aren't you glad you did away with that old-fashioned planner?
3. Don't follow-up with vendors
You booked your entertainment, speakers and vendors way in advance - good for you! Don't touch bases the week of - just wing it an you'll be sure to give yourself a nice anxiety boost!
4. Do it all yourself
You are after all the most experienced and can do everything faster than an assistant or intern. Who needs a team? Who needs a right-hand man with a copy of all of the event details and contacts? You're invincible right? There's nothing that could possibly cause you from missing this event . . . right?
5. Wear uncomfortable clothes
Think sweaty, 100% non-breathable polyester. Something a little too snug and maybe itchy. Wow - what a mood booster that will be after unloading boxes and running from room to room. Oh yes, and ladies . . . opt for the cute shoe. You want to make that stunning impression in your snazzy new suit, right? Also, make sure you park as far away from the event center as possible. Stay on your feet all day - take no breaks - that is for the amateurs.
6. Caffeine and an empty stomach
You have no doubt thought about everyone else's stomach from hiring caterers, planning coffee and pastries for breakout sessions, dinners out on-the-town, etc. Don't forget, you are invincible, you are the event planner. You can get up at 4:45AM, be the first to arrive and the last to leave - all of this on 3 grande coffees and a bag of peanut M&Ms - there's protein in there, right? Dehydration, faintness - the mark of a true hero!
7. Stress makes you look important
This is key - a friendly, smiling, chill event planner must not be working hard enough. Even if you have crossed off your entire checklist and everything is running as planned, do not allow yourself to enter into the dangerous land of "Enjoying The Event." Do whatever you can to look on-edge, busy, and in a rush at all times - this will show everyone how important you are and what a big job you have. If done properly, it will also make people scared to approach you and afraid of disturbing you.
8. There are meds for that
Getting an ulcer? Good job - you must really, really care about the event! Have panic attacks, nightmares, headaches, a short fuse? This is all normal for event planners - there are meds for coping with and compensating for the toll stress takes on the body. Just snap at your spouse and kids at home later to release the pent up stress.
9. Don't read contracts
"I'm sure its all fine." You say as you hurriedly sign the e-doc contract for your venue, vendors, speaker, and entertainment. Your eyes glow as you check everything off your list. Done, done, and done! It's always a delight to find out the day of an event that the vendor scratched a line in the agreement and you are now responsible for . . . What's life without a good scare now and then?
Thank you for reading along on this humorous journey to burnout. Hopefully you have not followed these steps to stress. If you have been guilty of any of the above, what have you done make healthy changes for yourself and your team? I look forward to hearing your success stories!
Lacy Miller is an events and entertainment professional with SSL Entertainment and The Gracie & Lacy Show based in Charleston, SC.