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Event professionals seem to struggle to keep their personal life and career separate. Here are 15 tips to achieve a better balance.
Our busy lives can easily mesh together the important tasks from both our work and personal schedules. Trying to be fully present in both aspects of our life can be a big challenge, especially for most planners who spend time working from home, or travel a lot. Creating balance between the passion you have for work and the importance of your personal life is attainable, but you’ll need to find ways to make this a priority. Here are 15 tips to make it achievable.
Create Separation in your Technology
Juggling multiple email addresses, mobile numbers and social media accounts may seem like a drag, but this is definitely one way to keep your work life separated from your personal correspondence. By keeping everything separated it can also help to keep you organized and give you the ability to maintain a professional brand or appearance online.
Unplug After Hours
Once you are off the clock you should work on finding time to step away from your computer, phone and other digital devices. While everyone knows how easy it is to sit at home after dinner and answer emails, you can hinder your personal relationships if you don’t find a way to disconnect from your devices for at least a few hours each day.
Find Friends Who Don't Work in the Industry
We all enjoy spending time with people who are like us, so it makes sense that many event professionals find themselves becoming friends with other people in the industry. While this can build really great relationships and business partnerships, it can also make your circle of friends very small and intertwined between work and play. Be sure that you are sharing your friendship with people who don't work in events too. This will help you to keep your personal life separated from your business responsibilities and have conversations wider than just event talk.
Place a Focus on Fitness
Take time each day to squeeze in a little exercise. Focusing on your health and well being will translate into keeping a healthy balance in other areas of your life. Working out will also help you to decompress after a tough day at work and can create a nice transition between work and personal hours.
Avoid Working with Family or Friends
If you operate a business where you have the chance to work with friends or family, such as wedding or party planning, you may want to think twice before planning a function for someone you know. While we all want to help out the people we care about, it can be tough to manage your business when you are working for people you have a personal relationship with. Sometimes it can work out great for everyone, but be sure to think through the process before making a commitment.
Take a Break
Everyone deserves a small break throughout the day, but most event planners aren't the best at taking time for ourselves, mainly because we have so many other people to worry about. During your more routine working days, you should set aside a few minutes to catch up on your personal life. Perhaps this is during your lunch break or on your ride home from the office. Even just a few minutes to take your focus off of work will go a long way in keeping you connected to your personal life and avoid the feeling of burnout that so many planners experience.
Set Working Hours
This tip is important especially if you spend most of your time working from home. Setting strict working hours will help you to transition from work time to personal time. When you work from home, it can be so tempting to put in a few more hours from your office (or kitchen table), but if you have set office hours in place you will know when it is officially time to make the transition to personal or family time.
Leave Your Feelings at the Door
Everyone’s personal life can certainly have ups and downs, but the key is to find a way to leave these emotions out of your business life. Perhaps you are having a tough day and going through a bad break up, or maybe you have great news and you are buying a new house! No matter the situation, when business hours roll around you want to do your best to be focused on your client, their needs and the event at hand.
Stay On Task During Work
When you arrive at work make sure you are minimizing the distractions that can come from your personal life. Avoid sending personal texts during work or staring at your phone when you should be mingling with clients. Don’t spend your working hours surfing the web for personal purposes or getting distracted by social media. By making your work a priority you will feel much more accomplished at the end of the day, which will give you the ability to focus on your personal life after work hours have ended.
Have an Accountability Partner
If you are really struggling to keep your work-life balance on track, find a mentor that you trust who has a good handle on their own work and personal structure. Check in with them from time-to-time to express your concerns and listen to the advice they offer you. Early in your career it can be very hard to “turn off” after work hours, but seeking guidance from other experienced professionals can be a tremendous help in finding the right balance.
Develop and Maintain Routines
Having routines set in your daily life will make the balance between work and home much more organized. Decide what is important to you and make time for it each day. Create habits and routines around the tasks that make you the most productive both personally and professionally. Set hours for checking email, days of the week for planning meetings, or even just a few moments in the morning where you plan out your agenda for the day. Building good habits, small or large, can certainly create a positive impact on your life.
Create a Dedicated Work Space
For event managers who own their own business or work from home they have flexibility in where they choose to conduct their work. Some of you might feel comfortable at a local coffee shop, while others may enjoy sitting on the couch at home. One thing that can help you to create separation between work and personal is by having a dedicated work space. This might be a home office that you set up on your own, or maybe you rent a desk from a coworking space where you can come as go as needed. Having this distinct space will help you to maintain your work hours and keep your focus on business when you are in this specific location.
Use Your Vacation Days
If you work for a company with dedicated vacation days you should find a way to enjoy them! Don’t be the person who never takes a day off. We know you love your job, but you will be a much better employee, boss, or coworker if you indulge in some rest and relaxation with your family and friends. Taking this time to focus on your personal life will leave you feeling rejuvenated whenever you return to work.
Extend Work Travel for Pleasure
Perhaps you can schedule in some of your vacation days around the business trip you are already taking. While this may sound like a bad idea if you are trying to keep work and business separate, it can certainly work out in your favor if you manage the trip properly. Plan your personal trip on the back end of your business dates and make sure you take time to wrap up your business tasks before embarking on your personal vacation. This can really lead to some fun trips where your friends and family can see a unique aspect of your career, while also enjoying your company after your work is done.
Accept That Sometimes There Will Be Overlap
When you decide to work in the event management industry you know that the busy schedule and demanding hours can oftentimes lead to interruptions in your personal calendar. Find a way that works for you and embrace the adventure that your career can bring to your everyday life. Most planners get to have some incredible life experiences because of their interesting career choice!
Every career and business is different and the toll that they take on your personal life may vary. Perhaps you have to try out a few different niches within the event world before you find the right fit for your own agenda. Making this balance a priority is important in order to live a productive and happy life. With a little work, it is definitely possible for every planner to find the right fit between a rewarding career and a fulfilling life.