Planning events involves a great deal of organization. The more time you spend organizing during the off season, the easier planning your event will be. This year, the off season has lasted several months, which creates the perfect opportunity to prepare for future events. Here are some steps you can take to get organized now:
Keep a Master Contact List
Rather than shuffling through business cards or phone contacts whenever you need to call a vendor, create a digital master list. In a spreadsheet, record names, contact information, the purpose of each vendor, and any other relevant information. In this file, make quick notes like “need to follow up with this vendor” or “need to order this item 2 months out to guarantee on-time delivery.” Depending on how many event contacts and vendors you have, consider using different tabs for different purposes, such as “catering,” “entertainment” and “equipment rental.”
Clean Out Your Event Planning Binder
If you plan events for a living, you probably have at least one event binder. Take time between events to clean out your binder. Remove whatever is not going to help you with future events, and keep items that could help you organize the next one. If there is information that is useful to keep but will change for your upcoming event, scan it! Having it available in a digital format will be useful to you and anyone else who needs the information.
Make a Personal To-Do List
Using an application like Trello, create your own digital to-do list. Trello allows you to create multiple to-do lists with several categories. Each item can be created with or without a deadline. The categories can be as simple as “Need to Do,” “In Progress,” “Done” and “On Hold” or more specific to the project itself. It is always satisfying to be able to drag items to the “Done” tab, so consider keeping that one in the mix. Trello and similar applications can be used seamlessly in desktop and mobile mode, so when inspiration strikes after hours, you can easily add to the list.
Create an Event Planning Process Template
Think about everything you need to do to plan an event, and write it down. Once you make a to-do list, place each item on a timeline. Once the timeline is set, turn it into an online event calendar, and share it with everyone on your team. Make sure everyone knows which items are their responsibility so everything gets done on time. When you see a team member’s next date coming up on the calendar, follow up to see where they are and if they need help. This will allow you and your team to stay on track.