Make no mistake: planning an event is hard work. Whether you’re hosting a classic office party or throwing an elaborate fundraising gala, event planning calls for strict organization and attention to detail. Think about it: of all deadlines, an event date is the most inflexible.
Once you’ve selected a date for your event, the clock is ticking and you’ve got to get organized. Here’s how to do it.
Have a Plan
To make sure you succeed, you’ve got to have a strategy. Staying organized is as easy as having a clear plan of attack. The most common way you’ll lose control of the situation is by drowning in details – and there are a lot of details to consider when you’re planning an event.
With a well-developed plan considering every aspect of your event, you’ll be able to navigate the process more effectively. A clear plan will help you account for all the details while being able to keep an eye on the big picture. This way, you can also delegate the smaller tasks if you need to.
Create an Event Folder
Whether it’s a folder on your computer or an old-school paper folder, make sure you have a single place to hold all of the important details relating to your event. While most people prefer to operate digitally, having a physical folder or binder gives you a place to store important documents and contracts in their hard copy form.
Store everything in separate labelled sections (or sub-folders) if you can. This will help you easily refer to things as you need them. Below are some ways you could sub-divide your main folder:
- Important Contacts
- Attendees/Guest List
Keep everything up to date so you can easily adapt and consider options should things change during the course of your planning.
Using Cloud Storage
If you’re keeping things digital (let’s face it, you probably should), there are plenty of options for event planning tools online. Popular file storage platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox allow you to store spreadsheets and checklists digitally and invite multiple users to share and edit your files. This way, everyone involved can have access to your event planning details and you can easily collaborate.
These platforms are generally compatible with mobile devices so you can access, edit and share your information from anywhere.
Work Out a Timeline
Staying organized means staying on top of every development as the event planning process unfolds. You can make sure you’re on track by creating a timeline of goals and planning stages. You should be starting the process months ahead of the event date itself, so having a clear timeline will help move things along smoothly.
Once you’ve determined your goals, create a master timeline that includes all of your deadlines or milestones. For example, this could include what day you want to send out invitations, when to confirm with the caterers, what day to order supplies, and so on.
Make sure to label and store the master timeline where everyone involved in the event planning can access it easily. This is where a digital file storage service like the ones discussed above can really come in handy.
Stick to the timeline as much as possible, but remember: being flexible is the key to successful event planning!