Time is one of the most important assets for those who plan events. But it’s not nearly as important as energy and mental stamina. Even if you have plenty of work hours ahead to finish the planning or logistic assignments, if you’re too tired, you won’t do much.
You might move forward with some repetitive tasks, yet you’ll lack the necessary creativity and vision to make a significant difference in your work. This article will help you understand what’s happening.
What are some of the things that can make you so tired when planning and managing an event?
Last-minute changes, high levels of uncertainty, an endless number of details to consider, and loads of emails to answer, to name just a few.
However, apart from these obvious challenges that will squeeze your energy and mental focus, there’s one thing that will make your working hours less dynamic: information overload.
What is information overload?
According to serial entrepreneur Howard Tullman:
“We keep hearing new statistics about the accelerating rate at which new information—content of all kinds—is being created both by humans and machines. The latter is accelerating at an exponentially greater pace, one that has been driven by machines exchanging data with other machines. There’s no end in sight to this growth, and absolutely no slowdown is even imaginable at this point.”
Researcher Peter Gordon Roetzel argues:
“Information overload occurs when decision-makers face a level of information that is greater than their information processing capacity, i.e., an overly high information load.”
In other words, information overload refers to our increased tendency to consume an increased percentage of data (articles, emails, social media feeds, videos, podcasts, etc.).
What does this have to do with tiredness?
Although we consider ourselves modern humans, our brain is still wired as it was thousands of years ago, meaning there’s only a certain amount of information we can take in without experiencing an emotionally draining fatigue.
There’s even a term for it, “information fatigue syndrome,” coined by psychologist David Lewis. The quantity of data we have to deal with daily is increasingly overwhelming.
Moreover, as content marketer Oksana Tunikova suggests:
“Information overload is the state of feeling overwhelmed by the volume of information to the point at which one feels more confused than knowledgeable about a particular topic. Information overload can manifest itself as brain fog and difficulty making decisions.”
Just think about your daily “information exposure” as someone who plans and manages events.
From crushing emails to details about your event suppliers to speakers’ keynotes and trying to troubleshoot the endless quantity of issues your attendees might have when registering for the event, event information overload is real.
And this doesn’t even include your daily information intake, which usually consists of news, random articles, social media feeds, and videos or podcasts.
So how do you stay sane and survive this data avalanche?
Here are a few tips you may want to consider:
Tip 1. Create an event protocol
Although every event is different, some planning and logistic elements never change.
For example, every time you plan an event, you have to determine the mission, context, and target group.
You also have to figure out the event structure, speakers, venue, and catering.
Apart from that, you might need to tackle challenges such as audiovisuals, simultaneous translations, event websites, online registration, etc.
Having an event protocol with all these phases and planning concepts will help you keep the information organized and update it easily if necessary.
This document will save you time and mental energy since you won’t have to memorize or write down the details in a notebook or on some sticky notes.
You’ll have a tool that will help you structure the event-related data and avoid the overwhelming feeling of information overload.
Tip 2. Set aside specific times to check emails
Imagine the following scene: You’re in the middle of creating the event program or social activity you’re designing for your guests, and suddenly you feel like checking your emails.
You open your email and—no surprise—have received about a dozen messages.
None of them seem urgent, yet you choose to open all of them, read them, and reply to each.
This takes you more than half an hour, and when you go back to what you were doing before, you discover that you’re totally exhausted and you can’t actually focus or come up with something creative.
This has happened because you switched tasks and overloaded your brain with information that could have waited.
To keep this from happening, you’ll want to establish specific times to check your email.
Let everyone know that you’re checking your email twice per day (morning and afternoon) so if there’s something important and they need an immediate answer, they should call you instead of email you.
Tip 3. Block some hours for deep work daily
Famous author and scientist Cal Newport refers to “deep work” as the moments when you focus 100% on your work for an extended period of time without any distractions.
This period can range from half an hour to three or even four hours. During this time, you disconnect from everything and don’t accept any distractions (read emails, videos, articles … aka information).
This trains your brain to focus better and get less tired from task-switching and information overload.
Now you’re the one who’s controlling the amount of data you get during a workday.
Tip 4. Avoid social media during work hours
This one might be hard, but if you want to stay healthy, focused, and energized, stay away from your social media feeds.
Ask yourself if the information you’ll be reading or consuming by scrolling through Instagram photos or Twitter comments will give you something valuable or, on the contrary, if it will overload your brain with unnecessary information.
Obviously, if you need to access social media to promote your event or engage with potential attendees, please do so.
But overall, if possible, reduce the time you waste on this not-so-productive habit.
Tip 5. Make sure to stay away from screens for a few hours each day
Rest is extremely important if you want to stay sane while planning an event. So once you leave the office, don’t reconnect at home.
Give yourself a break, relax, and rest. Your brain and body both need to recharge.
Consuming more information after work will only make you feel even tenser and definitely not help you sleep better.
Reducing the effects of information overload
Nowadays, we’re exposed to information overload. There’s no way to escape it. And this overload is even more aggressive when planning and managing an event.
That’s why it’s so important to be aware of it, acknowledge its effects, and take the necessary measurements to reduce its impact on your performance, mood, and well-being.