When planning an event, you have two options. The first option is to hate it, but work like crazy and burn out. The second one is to love it, but work like crazy and burn out. By now, you must be thinking that work-life balance is an impossible mission for event professionals. You aren’t totally wrong. After all, we rank between professions such as police officers and newspaper reporters as the most stressful job.
Constant stress, uncertainty, and a crazy variety of tasks we as event professionals have to deal with regularly may generate a series of unpleasant experiences. Anxiety, the inability to rest, and even panic attacks are often the results of a faulty work-life balance. So how can we protect ourselves from burning out, take better care of our health, and restore the energy for extraordinary work?
Here are a few things to consider:
Disconnect on a daily basis
Do you check your email long after the workday’s over? Do you spend your evenings on social media or anxiously reading new messages as they arrive? Do you scroll the news feeds one last time before going to sleep? If so, know that you aren’t only depriving yourself of rest, you’re also running the risk of disrupting your sleep.
Studies show that “staring at the blue and white light emitted from digital screens prevents your brain from releasing the hormone melatonin, which lets your body know when it's time to hit the hay. So it becomes harder to fall and stay asleep.” Subsequently, the lack of quality sleep will translate into tiredness, poor productivity, and low results the next day.
Now repeat that cycle every single workday, and it’s no wonder why you don’t want to leave the sofa or the bed on weekends!
For a healthy work-life balance, don’t hesitate to disconnect every day. Of course, there’s always FOMO (the fear of missing out something). We think to ourselves, “What if someone sent me a time-sensitive message and I have to reply right away?” Don’t fall for it.
Just ask your clients, providers, or team members to call you (instead of sending you emails) if something unexpected happens and requires your immediate attention. This will help you disengage without the fear of missing something crucial.
Spare some quality time for yourself
When was the last time you had a nice breakfast, reading your favorite book (or something else you love)? The life of an event professional is extremely demanding. However you can’t deny yourself the moments in which you can focus exclusively on things like your hobbies and passions.
Hobbies will help you not only release stress, but also ignite your creativity and find unique solutions to work-related problems. According to the research study “Motivating creativity at work: The necessity of others is the mother of invention,” intrinsically motivating activities influence positively the creative thinking, helping people to produce new, efficient ideas.
Take an active rest day per week
As tempting as it is to stay on the sofa the entire weekend, for a healthy work-life balance, you need to exercise. And if hitting the gym a few times a week isn’t feasible, then at least have one day per week when you could go hiking, swimming, or biking around your city.
As the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website suggests, exercise and physical activity are essential to maintain mental fitness and reduce stress. “Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.” So next weekend, get up off the sofa and go on an adventure.
Stop multitasking to gain more free time
Sounds counterintuitive, but for a better work-life balance, find new ways of organizing your daily activities. As Cal Newport, well-known author and computer scientist at Georgetown University, notes in his book about deep work, one of the most challenging things to do nowadays is focus for a large period of time to execute complex, work-related tasks without any distractions or interruptions.
We’re constantly tempted to check our social media profiles, surf the internet. Also, we may just procrastinate by idly chitchatting with a coworker or friend over a cup of coffee. As an NPR article highlights, “We're also denying ourselves the satisfaction that often comes from committing our full attention to a task. Replying to a string of emails rarely arouses this same feeling.”
So how about being more conscious about how we spend our time at work, how focused we are, and how many tasks we can accomplish in less time? Minimize or avoid distractions and train your attention span so that you can focus for longer and manage your assignments more efficiently. This new approach may help you become more productive and actually gain more free time you can spend with friends and loved ones.
For a good life-work balance, work smart and rest smarter. Don’t deny yourself the possibility to recover on a daily basis. Mark a clear distinction between the time you spend at the office and the time you spend on leisure activities. This is required, not recommended, if you want to continue being efficient and productive. Your professionalism depends on how well you slept and how rested you are. So don’t take this advice lightly. Make sure you have a healthy life-work balance and enjoy harvesting its results.