Herding Cats?

As a planner – whether full time, part time, or “just this time” – it is ultimately our responsibility and duty to keep it all “straight.” Right? After all, that’s usually the primary reason that we’ve been brought onboard! Yes, we are here to design a great event… Yes, we are here to be creative and to infuse industry trends into their high-level ideas… Yes, we are here because we have vendor relationships that could ultimately save significant dollars… BUT when the rubber meets the road: Planner = Organizer + Executer, and everything else is just “gravy.” We are the professional cat herders.   

For this reason we must always be on the lookout for fresh and more productive ways to stay organized… The great news is: this week you don’t have to venture out because we are delivering a few of our tips to you!

Schedule standing meetings in advance for the entire timeline of the event planning process, and stick to the same day of the week and time of day when possible – everyone’s got a different spin on how many times you must do something before it forms a true habit, but the fact remains the same: keep doing it, and it will become a habit. So, scheduling recurring team meetings on the same day, same time will minimize confusion, no-shows, and rescheduling because attendees will accept it as habit – and we as humans don’t like to break habits!

Use technology to your advantage – OK, I know some of us old school planners are all about the folders, papers, and binders, but let’s face it: the world has changed! Nowadays we need to be accessible always AND everywhere… so since that’s not physically possible, we need to find ways to be sure the information is accessible at the least. Here are a few of my favorite file sharing options:

Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) – you can start with a free account, and sync across multiple devices (computer, tablet, phone). You can also assign permissions to folders in accordance with what you want to share, and with whom. Overall, a pretty simple product that adds convenience to file sharing.

Microsoft SkyDrive (www.skydrive.com) – much more robust of a solution, and still offers a free account. This is mostly web-based, although there are tablet applications that can be downloaded if you like. You can also assign permissions to folders in accordance with what you want to share, and with whom. You can also edit files real-time with a web-version interface of the Microsoft Office software, or open the file in the program on your computer and edit real-time (meaning, when you click “save” it actually saves your changes online – cool right?). And, if you really want to get fancy, you can actually create folders on your computer that link to the folders online, and they will treat them seamlessly (as long as you have an Internet connection) like local folders and files. Again, the changes are being made real-time, so there aren’t a million versions of a file circulating via email.

SuperPlanner iPhone App – you can search for this in the App Store on your iPhone. For junior, senior, and “how did I get into this?” planners, this app is a godsend. Again to the productivity point – although I’ve been doing this for almost 15 years and I can pretty easily eyeball a room, or even do a quick calculation – if I have an app on my phone that I can plug in dimensions and it can spit back to almost every iteration of how I could use that room in seconds – why not?! From menu planning, to audio/visual and venue capacities, this app puts the info you need at your fingertips!

So, these are just a few of our highest rated opportunities for added productivity and organization (highest-rated because I did in fact ask the staff what I should include as our favorites so that this wouldn’t be a 3 page blog!). We hope you’ve found something immediately applicable, and that you’ll “holler back” to us with some of your tried and true favorites!