May 3, 2017
Read Time: 5 min
Written by guest contributor, Mark Koa, Department Manager at COS Group Marketing.
You’re an event professional and you wear many hats – a networker, negotiator, team leader, businessman or woman, and the list goes on.
Keeping up with work can prove challenging if you don’t have the right tools. And in this post, we will look at how you can boost your productivity, stay focused on your most important tasks, and keep stress at bay using 7 amazing tools.
And even better, most of these tools are free or have a free version. Check it out!
You probably have a Gmail or YouTube account, which means you also have a Google Drive account. And this gives you gigabytes of cloud storage – plus access to a free, lightweight, and web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tool.
You may think that Google Drive is nothing more than a free alternative to Microsoft Office. But you’d be mistaken. It lets you do stuff you can’t do with a desktop office suite, and event planners will find a lot of utility out of it.
Do you need to collaborate on event plans? No problem! Simply create a document and share it with your team so everyone can contribute.
And the best part:
You don’t need to merge different versions of the document. The entire team will work on one definitive version, which stays up to date with every revision.
Are you shopping for a venue or an audio-visual equipment provider? Maybe you need to capture important details? A Google Spreadsheet can handle that. Just create one and add the fields or questions. Send the URL to a contact. Ask them to fill it out, and that’s it!
The events landscape changes on the regular.
Conferences and product launches were exclusively face-to-face events back in the day. Now, they are usually accompanied with virtual events to accommodate people who can’t make it to the venue.
Event planners had to deal with reams of paper programs and registration details. But thanks to the countless event apps and management platforms today, a planner can keep tabs of everything from an iPad.
So how do #eventprofs keep up with constantly shifting landscape? By reading, of course! And Feedly helps you get your reading fix.
Feedly is an RSS reader, capable of housing online content that you care about. You can add your publications, favorite industry blogs and portals, and even YouTube channels to Feedly. And getting started is ABC-easy.
Add the RSS feed of your favorite sources. If you want to add Cadmium’s blog, just enter the URL in the search bar and Feedly will find it for you. Next, set up categories to organize your sources and define your must-read sources. And you’re good to go!
Email is a huge time-waster. Researchers and some corporate leaders are even considering killing internal email to increase employee productivity. But without email, how are you and your staff going to communicate with each other? Through Slack!
Slack, in a nutshell, is a super messaging and collaboration tool. Yes, super!
The app is built for teams and its ubiquitous. You can install it on just about any device or platform. One-on-one chat is part of its feature set, but Slack shines the most in group chats. You can set up different channels with different agendas, and you can even have private channels for clients and suppliers.
Aside from one-on-one and group chats, you can upload and share files via Slack, too. And if you’re already using other apps and services, you can streamline your planning and management process further with integrations.
Ideas to an event professional are like fuel to a car. Without good ideas, a planner will struggle to make progress and create impactful events.
But here’s the thing:
The most brilliant ideas come at the most inconvenient times.
Capturing and keeping track of them can be a pain. And if you don’t act fast enough, you will forget the idea in a moment’s notice. It’s as if your brain is playing tricks on you!
Sure, you can use a pocket notebook and commit to writing whatever idea comes to you immediately. But what if you forgot to bring the notebook? What if you lost it?
Enter Evernote – one of the best, if not the best, note-taking tool ever.
Evernote is an impressive piece of software for a number of reasons. First, you can install it on multiple devices so you can take it as long as you have your smartphone. But more important, Evernote lets you capture ideas however you want.
You can snap a photo of that marvelous photo booth. Save a page or crop an image from your favorite events blog. Record notes in audio for those times when typing is just too slow. And of course, you can write as little or as much as you’d like to capture an idea.
And as an added bonus:
You can integrate Feedly with Evernote, allowing you to save that awesome content you found to Evernote with a few clicks.
Planning an event and managing a project have a lot of similarities. Both have steps to keep track of real-time, milestones to reach, and deadlines to meet. And in the world of project management, Asana is a trusted name.
Asana is a to-do list and project management tool in one neat package. Flexibility is one of its strongest suits, able to accommodate just about any workflow. It’s fast, responsive, and the free version lets you add up to 15 users. What’s not to like!?
If you’re still using pinboards and reams of post-it notes to plan your event, you will find Asana relieving. It lets you do #eventprofs things and in less time – from creating a to-do list for every team member, sending status updates to reduce meetings, to breaking down massive steps to smaller and more manageable bits.
The guys behind the Tribeca Film Festival swear by Asana for event management and planning. If the tool is good enough for a prestigious, multi-day festival, it’s probably good enough for you, too!
Maintaining focus is perhaps the biggest problem professionals face in this constantly distracted world of ours. Emails are flooding the inbox. Social media notifications keep popping up. And then there’s the constant ringing of the phone.
If you can’t focus, getting important stuff done becomes impossible.
Fortunately, a free desktop app called Focus Booster can help you stay on track and productive. The app is built based on the pomodoro technique, a time management technique that advocates 25 minutes of focused work followed by a 5-minute break.
Focus Booster is lightweight, easy to install and use, and does what it’s supposed to do. Not only does the app make you focus on one task. But it also forces you to take breaks, reducing the risk of back and shoulder pain associated with desk work.
Did you know that event professionals have the 6th most stressful job according to CareerCast?
They’re only preceded by police officers, airline pilots, US military generals, enlisted military personnel, and firefighters. And worse, high levels of stress can make you restless, anxious, and even lead to depression.
But some good news:
You can curb stress with regular meditation.
Now, you can find a lot of meditation guides in the internet. Some are basic, while others are advanced and require one to sit still and focus for up to an hour. However, if you need a bit of expert hand-holding, Headspace can give you that.
Headspace is a guided meditation app that’s built for people who haven’t meditated before. The initial sessions are only 10 minutes long, so making the time to meditate with Headspace is very doable.
Coffee may not be to everyone’s taste. However, you cannot ignore its healthy perks! If you’ve been busy and sleepless a week before the event, a cup of coffee can keep you energized and awake.
But even better:
Coffee boosts long-term memory, relieves headaches and migraines, and even improves learning by up to 10%. An event professional can use those perks, don’t you think? 🙂
Just remember not to drink coffee first thing in the morning. It sounds counter-intuitive, but science says it’s for the better.
Mark Kao is the department manager of COS Rental, a UK-based A/V and event equipment rental firm. Passionate about digital marketing and all-things #eventtech, Mark always makes sure he drops and reads the latest updates from the best blogs in the space.