I often get asked “How do you fit it all in?”
To give you context, I manage the team at International Productions and we deliver about 70 projects a year – some are tiny and some have a huge amount of moving parts. I chair the NSW Branch of Meetings and Events Australia, occasionally guest lecture at the College of Event Management, I have a 7 year old daughter, a 3 year old Labradoodle and I play netball!
Now the disclaimer is that my wonderfully supportive husband is a stay at home Dad, and I would not be able to fit it all in if it wasn’t for him being at home to manage the household!!
Here are some of the tips that I use to manage my time:
Stay on top of emails
I recently read a book called “Getting Your Inbox to Zero” by the team at Think Creative and it has changed my life. The key takeaway is to not use your inbox as a collecting place for emails. Without giving away their intel, I will share this – make yourself processing folders such as “Action” or “Waiting” and move emails into these folders. You can then work through your action folder and prioritise what takes your attention.
The other great tip I got from Think Productive was to allocate time to process your inbox –people who are masters of their inbox look at it once a day…….I am down to once an hour and still working on it!
Allocate your time
if something is not in my schedule, it doesn’t happen! Encourage your team to block time with you to discuss pressing issues – even if it is for a time on the same day as this will help you reflect on how you spend your time and eliminate distractions.
The beauty of technology is you work from anywhere. Embrace it! I catch up on phone calls while I am driving – using Bluetooth of course – but only make calls where you are imparting knowledge on someone, for example suppliers – don’t use this time to get information you need from clients!
I use my phone to respond to emails as much as I can – this is a contentious one but I have found if you can respond quickly while you are away from your desk, your recipient will appreciate the acknowledgement and will give you more time to get the information they have asked for because they know you are working on it.
Watch your nutrition and mindfulness
Stay hydrated – buy yourself a drink bottle that shows you what you should have drunk by what time…….I got mine from Woolworths. You will suddenly be drinking 2 litres a day and your brain cloud will feel much better!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but as event managers it is the meal we skip most often. I bought a Nutribullet and each morning I have a fresh fruit juice – you can add nuts, vegetables or whatever you wish! Put it into a drink bottle and drink it on the run.
Adapt – not multitask
I hate the term multi-tasking – it is just an excuse to give tasks only part of your attention. You need to learn to adapt your thinking – to be able to switch your focus to a different task, event or client – but tune out the clutter and focus on what is at hand in its entirety.
Train those around you
These measures are only effective if those in your immediate circle are aware of your processes. If you decide to be cc’d on emails that are FYI only and don’t rely on your action, then set up a rule through Outlook for them to go to a different folder and you will read these occasionally, you need to ensure those who email you often are aware of this!
Write everything down in dated notebooks
My notebooks may look like scribbles to most but many times I have referred to them a year later and the information has been vital! Dating your notebook pages means that if you know roughly when you noted the information it will be easier for you to find!
Remember “If you want something done ask a busy person to do it” – we are all capable of achieving what seems to be an insurmountable list – you just need to find what works for you.