The importance of time management is a commonly-heard phrase and skill, whether in job descriptions, event management or just your day to day life. But what do people mean and why is it so important?
Time management is a skill that can ensure efficiency, productivity, and help to reduce stress. It’s all about knowing how much time you have to start with, and thus how much you can allocate to certain tasks.
It encompasses another important skill: prioritisation – which means recognising tasks based on importance and tackling things in a logical sequence to get the best result.
Another key element is efficiency. The more effectively you manage your time, the more efficient you will be. It also helps you recognise how much you can achieve in a day by setting targets and deadlines.
But, despite the way the term is thrown around, it’s not an easy skill to master.
Here, Head of Events, Sheridan Roberts discusses the importance of time management, as well as some tips, techniques and a few tools for improving it.
1. Be realistic
Working out how long various tasks take is a key skill linked to time management.
And when it comes to estimating this – it’s essential to be realistic and honest about every single moment. If you really want to master managing time effectively, you need to take into account how long it will take to deliver certain tasks.
Make sure you’re factoring in all possible tasks. Whether you’re in the planning stages of an event (virtual or in-person) or you’re on event day. Include the time it takes to send emails, to speak to and reassure clients, to do tech rehearsals or run-throughs. There are other things to consider, such as the walking time between two areas of a venue, it all counts.
Your time is precious so protect it. Always give yourself more time than you think, as it’s practically guaranteed that you will underestimate! And too little time to do everything that needs doing means more stress for you.
2. Make a plan
If you have committed to the first rule above, the next of our time management tools and tips is to make a list or a plan with a detailed breakdown of exactly what needs to be done or what will be happening at every moment.
Create a to-do list that encompasses your whole project and then each day create a ‘to-day’ list. Put tasks on the list that need to be completed that day in order to move the project along. A ‘to-day’ list also helps you to focus and avoid being distracted by everything else on your to-do list.
This is beneficial not only for yourself but for anyone else who is behind the scenes at the event no matter their role. And remember that most tasks can be divided into smaller sub-tasks, by having these you will make the bigger tasks seem more achievable and also give yourself a sense of achievement as you mark off those smaller sub-tasks.
Being able to share a detailed itinerary looks confident and well-organised to others and it will help you feel more confident and organised too. Knowing you can always take a look at your detailed schedule and see exactly where you should be and what you should be doing at any given moment is extremely reassuring in moments of chaos and stress.
3. Be flexible
A rigid plan is a good place to start but if things start getting behind you risk feeling like everything is falling apart. Instead, recognise the importance of time management and factor in setbacks, obstacles and delays. If you’re accepting of the likelihood of unexpected issues cropping up, then you’ll be more prepared to face them when they inevitably happen.
Next, put in place any backup plans and mentally prepare yourself for how to quickly react to difficulties. If you’re good in a crisis then this will probably be where you naturally shine. If an unprecedented situation brings you out in a cold sweat, plan twice as hard.
Secondly, think about contingency plans. This could be if a speaker turns up late, you experience a technical difficulty with your virtual platform or a seating plan has to be changed last minute, contingency plans are important.
It’s impossible to predict everything, but if you at least have a potential rescue operation, you’ll be in a good position to tackle anything.
4. Set your own deadlines
Setting deadlines is a vital part of time management. Once you’ve established how long tasks should take you and make your to-do lists, you’ll be able to set yourself realistic deadlines. These deadlines can (and should) be both big and small.
Your event day is a big deadline, signifying the end of a project (don’t forget to follow up though!) and smaller deadlines act as mini-milestones that will help you reach it.
Hitting these milestones is so important for keeping you on track and keeping everything moving, so give yourself enough time and recognise your achievements as you go along!
5. Practice makes perfect
Time management is a key part of your event planning. It’s an important skill to master for your own benefit but it’s also essential to the confidence and reliability you impart on others working at, or attending, the event. Learning how to manage time effectively often comes with practice.
The more experience you have, the better you will become at learning the ways that work best for you. And with improvements in these skills, you’ll find yourself getting ahead of deadlines, feeling calmer and more in control!
We like to think that HeadBox is a great tool for helping you manage your time in the most effective way possible. So, if you need a hand planning your next event send us your enquiry here.