Stop Procrastinating Now

Stay organized with this three-step plan

Procrastination is a meeting planner’s worst enemy. When you get a late start, it can be to the detriment of your event, as caterers, sponsors, other vendors and large-scale ideas might not be available or possible on such short notice. 

The organized, strategic planner gets the worm, and the procrastinating planner gets the leftovers—isn’t that how the saying goes?

But as any procrastinator will tell you, putting off your work can be a hard habit to break. With a lot of details to organize, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The trick to checking things off your list sooner rather than later is to just jump in. Try this three-step plan to get started:

1. Make a master to-do list. 
Before jumping into planning, it’s important to know what you want your end result to look like. Ask yourself the following: What’s the meeting purpose, and what are the expectations of this event? And, most importantly, how will your planning get you there? 

Once you have an idea of client goals and are armed with the knowledge of what it will take to achieve them, create a master document that includes every item you’ll have to get done. Outline each task from both a macro and micro level, including steps that might already be second nature to you. For example, if a meeting you’re planning needs a top-notch caterer, your action list should include beginning steps, such as making a list of potential vendors, setting up calls and taste tests, all the way through to contract finalization. 

It might seem unnecessary to make such a comprehensive list, but having everything on paper not only sets expectations for yourself, it also allows you to visually see what’s at stake if you were to procrastinate.  

2. Create a schedule.
Once you break down what tasks need to be accomplished, and what individual steps will need to take place to make them happen, the next step is to develop a timeline of events. This will vary depending on the event and your organizational style, but the key is to make it manageable. Don’t set unrealistic deadlines that are likely to overwhelm your team or put added pressure on the event. 

Similarly, don’t set yourself up to procrastinate, either. For example, when you have one big deadline, it can be easy to put the tasks that will get you there on the back burner because you feel like you have time to take care of everything. In reality, you often don’t. Setting up small, achievable deadlines is more likely to keep you on track. 

3. Have your team keep you accountable.
While your team members can help you carry out the items on your master to-do list, they can also keep you on schedule. Set up daily or weekly check-ins to make sure that every task and every person is moving along accordingly—including you. Be open with your team, discuss any challenges any of you might be having and offer and take support where needed. In the end, accountability with your team will not only make for better planning and events, but also make you a better leader.

Sometimes things go awry, and that’s OK. The key is to own up to mistakes and stay on top of your meeting planning so you don’t fall behind. Then, come day of the event, you’ll really have something to celebrate.