8 Time Sucking Tasks and How To Streamline Them

Are you finding yourself spending too much time on certain jobs? If so, take a step back and see if you can streamline and speed up your daily tasks!

“Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted, the leader must be doubly vigilant.” – Colin Powell

An #eventprofs day is stacked full of appointments, meetings, tasks, projects, reminders, checklists, and lots and lots of details! In a recent performance at Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress, poet Sekou Andrews called us “next-level ninjas” due to the many hats we wear and the numerous tasks we juggle seemingly with ease.

While this may seem crazy, we are event professionals and we love details! But, with all of the details that go into creating an amazing event, even ninjas can sometimes find themselves out of time. If you find yourself constantly out of time, leaving out the details is not the answer. Take a step back and see if you can streamline your day, speeding up your activities and creating more time in your day to do more.

Here are a few areas that are huge time-suckers:

8 Time Sucking Tasks and How To Streamline Them
  1.  Emails

While emails are wonderful and convenient, it can become overwhelming. Ideally we should check email less often. Try to be more strategic in your email communication. Part of being more strategic is considering it may be quicker to meet face to face or pick up the phone. If you find yourself staring at your inbox all day long, and have only responded to one conversation (20 times!), pick up the phone and call them instead next time. In ten minutes, you can divert both parties attention to focus only this situation, discuss all of the details, and effectively solve the problem that would have taken all day through email.

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     Typing and Data Entry

If typing is not your strong suit, there are several different solutions that can help, depending on your situation. If you are creating a new document yourself, and your typing can’t seem to keep up with the ideas coming to you, look into a speech to text software. As you talk, the software automatically converts it to text. We use this all the time on our phones. The actual software programs that are available to purchase are even better, and are getting better each day!

Despite being in the age of wonderfully integrated technology, sometimes it’s impossible to get away from data entry tasks. Before doing these types of tasks yourself, think of the the other tasks you could focus on. Sometimes it’s more cost effective to hire outside help.

If you simply have a need for data entry or written note transcription, consider hiring some temporary help. While a temp agency can find you someone qualified, you can also be more creative with finding additional help. Reach out through your local meeting planner organizations or college programs. This would be a great way to bring in a student or apprentice planner to work with and mentor.

  1.  Bidding, Contracts, & Invoicing

Being self-employed, getting signed contracts is always a wonderful feeling! The hard part is finding the time to do the research for them them, create beautiful proposals, edit them, submit them, and everything else that comes in between! Sometimes, you are too busy to create new proposals to bid on new projects. Other times, it feels like all you are doing is bidding on projects and customizing contracts. If you find bidding and contracting is taking up too much of your time, consider technology. With specific proposal and contract software, like BidSketch, you are able to create templates that can reused and quickly modified and customized. For estimates and invoices look for a solution like Freshbooks, Quickbooks or Concur. These tools can help streamline your financial process and help you look more professional.

  1.  Repetitive Tasks

As Event Professionals, you may have one or more of these time sucking repetitive tasks: seperating name badges, stuffing name badges, labeling envelopes, stuffing envelopes, collating delegate folders. Should I go on? Sometimes I do like to stuff name badges. Being able to zone out a bit and still feel productive. That must be a #EventProf Zen thing. However, more often than not, I just don’t have the time.

When faced with these repetitive tasks, try to think of a more effective way to accomplish them. What is the cost of having the printer complete the name badges or the mailing? There may also be some great resources in your community to provide work for individuals with disabilities. These organizations offer business services like bulk mailing, package assembly and all the while providing education, training and employment opportunities. It’s a great way to fulfill the needs of your business and help serve the community as well.

  1.  Delegating

In a previous post about preventing burn out, we talked about the importance of delegating. Do you find yourself spending more time to explain the task being delegated than it would take to actually do it yourself? It takes some practice, needs clear communication, and the right people involved, but delegating can free up a tremendous amount of time in your day. By using a software program such as Basecamp, you can easily and efficiently delegate, communicate, and oversee different projects. For this to run smoothly, though, the software must be consistently used to it’s fullest potential by everyone involved! Be sure to also set clear expectations and visions with everyone involved.

Working with a team and delegating tasks can an be a tricky situation. Be sure to take extra care to ensure that you do not become a micromanager! While it is never a manager’s goal to become a micromanager, sometimes it just happens without them realizing it. In a previous article about the dreaded Event Micromanager, we discussed how to recognize the signs of micromanagement, how it affects your team, and how you can avoid becoming one of the dreaded micromanagers!

  1.  Education

As #eventprofs, we should always be learning new things and refining our skills. Taking a class or researching a new topic is very rewarding, but also very time consuming. If you find that you want to continue to learn, but can’t find the time, consider using an audio book program like Audible. I have found that listening to books while driving or exercising is a great way to get away from everything, while still being productive and checking something off of my list! Also look for online webinars that are shorter. Many industry resources are doing 30 minute sessions that get right to the core educational content. I’ve also found Udemy to be a great online educational resource and many classes are broken into 5-10 minute sections, making it easy to fit it into my schedule and can be a nice break in my day.

  1.  Normal Business Tasks (a.k.a. – doing everything yourself!)

Running a small business is very rewarding, but it does come with it’s challenges, especially when you are the one doing everything. You fill many roles, and are responsible for representing your marketing department, financial and accounting department, legal department, sales department, customer service department, human resources department, custodial department, research and strategy department, and many others!

As an entrepreneur, we are generally skilled at many facets of business, and are able to be successful wearing most of these hats. However, if you find yourself struggling with a particular “department,” consider contracting out that area to a professional. Contact your local chamber of commerce for recommendations or look for a virtual assistant. Though there is a cost involved in outsourcing, the time you save yourself may end up being more valuable, since you are then free to do something else you had to put off from before (maybe researching that new client or catching up on emails).

  1.  Technology

Today’s technology-based world has turned it’s focus recently to the event arena. Every week, it seems like a new technology is introduced that can help make our events even more remarkable! With new products coming out so quickly, it is harder and harder to find the time to research, explore, and become proficient in them all.

If technology is slowing you down, look outside of your company for a contractor that focuses simply on finding and integrating the best technology for your needs. By hiring a professional that has thededicated time and skills to finish a project that may take you twice as long, you are then able to focus on other things, effectively speeding up your activities by allowing to do to more each day.

In Conclusion

As an #eventprof, we are not just professional event planners. We are next level ninjas – we can do it all! While we know we can handle and master anything given to us, time is the only thing that holds us back. If time seems to be constantly winning, take a step back and look to see where you could use help. Look at your daily processes to see if you can streamline them. If not, look at bringing an expert into your ninja dojo to help you defeat time.

What are your time suckers? Share them below and let’s find a way to speed up your day!

About The Author
Jeannie Power
Jeannie Power is co-founder of Power Event Group, and enjoys using both her event planning background and technology expertise to help #eventprofs choose and implement event technology that meets the needs of their events.
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Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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