Working smarter, not harder, isn’t a dream, it’s a reality—especially for planners who have to budget time wisely. To maximize minutes, here are six clever ideas to consider adopting.
1. Set office hours on your cellphone.
When clients began calling during all hours of the day and night, Nosa Oyegun, an event planner based in Arlington, Texas, included office hours on her voicemail. “People started respecting my hours after listening to my voicemail several times,” she says. “Prior to that I would get calls after 10 p.m. for an event that was several months away.”
2. Use private Facebook subgroups to coordinate contractors for events.
To become more efficient with his planning, Tim Mack, founder and artistic director of Atlanta-based Imperial OPA Circus, created a private Facebook page for his core team of 50 to 60 artists to quickly ask who is available to perform for each event. “If they can do it, all the event info is laid out for them,” Mack says. For larger one-off and monthly events, Mack also creates additional private Facebook pages where he invites all booked performing artists to join to keep the project information in one spot. “This reduces the amount of time I have to spend trying to coordinate everything,” he says.
3. Schedule “fun time” to keep employees focused and engaged.
It may sound counterintuitive, but Bob Smith Sr., who runs a public relations and event planning company outside Rockford, Illinois, hires a comedian, entertainer or motivational speaker to come in once a month to his office of eight employees. Smith caters in lunch and spends about $1,500 for someone to perform for 90 minutes during the middle of the week. “If we take ourselves too seriously all the time, employees will create outlets on their own,” he says. “That’s why I make it part of their workday.”