Event professionals need to plan budgets and deal with attendee engagement. They need to keep up with the latest technology and pick up the right venue. Technological advancement sped up the process of event planning and made it more challenging at the same time. Online marketing, RSVP, event seating are all done through event management software. To keep up with technology, prepare for the event, and deal with clients and administration, event professionals need to master time management skills.
Time management is one of the most valuable skills in any industry. It affects how we deal with stress, tackle productivity, and enjoy personal moments.
Poor time management leaves us with working nights, weekends, and often underachieving at our job.
So, what’s the secret to good time management?
A short burst of unshakeable focus can increase productive and creative output. The Pomodoro technique is there to help you achieve this. It can work wonders, especially if used properly with deeply relaxing pauses. This technique is especially useful for event professionals who need to juggle several different tasks during the day.
Pomodoro Technique Breaks Work Into Intervals
The Pomodoro technique helps you to maintain focus by working in short intervals separated by short breaks. Francesco Cirillo, an entrepreneur and a developer, invented this method in the late 1980s. He named it Pomodoro after a red tomato-shaped kitchen time meter.
He discovered that the best way to fight distractions and stay focused on work is to split workload into smaller intervals. He then winded up the tomato kitchen meter and worked for 25 minutes straight.
This technique consists of working units that last for 25 minutes. After each successfully completed unit, a short 5-minute break follows. One 25-minute working unit is called Pomodoro. After four Pomodoros it’s time for a longer break. The long break can last up to 30 minutes, or even more if you have longer shifts.
It seems simple and effective, but how does it actually work?
To start using it, all you need is a simple tech gadget (or a tomato-shaped time meter) and a piece of paper.
You can use any sort of time tracking app, tool, or timer. The inventor preferred a kitchen timer because the physical act of winding increases the sense of determination. If you are a tech-savvy entrepreneur, a simple app or even a stopwatch will do.
A piece of paper is essential because you must write down all your daily tasks before you start working. It will reduce stress because you will have a clear picture of how your day will look like and which of the tasks are prioritized. There’s less anxiety and stress since you can always see what’s next on your to-do list.
Next, you should turn on the timer and start working. Whatever happens during the first Pomodoro should not distract you. If you feel unproductive, don’t stop, just keep on going. After the first interval is over, take some time to get coffee and water, check your first task off the paper and get on to the next one. Keep going until you finish four Pomodoros.
Of course, a series of uninterrupted Pomodoros is the ideal scenario, but sometimes things and people would get in the way. If a colleague comes to chat, politely inform her that you are in the middle of something and tell her how soon you will be available. Naturally, if it’s an urgent matter make an exception and deal with the situation right away.
The best thing about this technique is that you always know when you will be available since you’re using a time tracker.
The big break is when you should have lunch, think about what you’ve achieved so far, and relax before you continue with work. If you feel tired and worn out, take an even longer break and recharge your batteries. There’s no point trying to work if you feel exhausted.
How Does Pomodoro Help Event Professionals?
Studies say that Pomodoro works best for those working in the creative industry like writers, designers, but also software developers whose work can easily be seen, measured, and evaluated. They need to deliver works daily and always be ready to make adjustments and deal with feedback. While the technique is mostly embraced by the tech-savvy and creative people, it is equally effective for event professionals too.
Pomodoro Helps You With The Instant Implementation
We have all seen it before. We have a sudden eureka about next project and spend hours, sometimes days, praising the ingenuity of our new idea. But once the time comes to sit down and actually start working, we feel stuck. Like tomatoes, ideas are best when they are fresh.
Pomodoro helps us focus on getting things done rather than just contemplating about them. It tells us to stick to the working mindset and start implementing ideas instantly. We can assign one Pomodoro interval to write down the keynotes for the next project and start developing the brilliant idea straight away.
Practical work leads to more ideas, and once it’s time for a break we can make most of it by reflecting on what we’ve achieved so far. Breaks can help us structure the next workload and prepare for a new interval.
Use the intervals strategically to reflect on the progress made and structure consecutive blocks of work.
However, take the longer break to switch off as much as possible. Take a walk, stay in silence, go for a quick workout, meditate – whatever engages you completely and unwinds your mind can serve as a great recharger.
One of the main benefits of using the Pomodoro technique is that it trains your brain to focus intensely and then to relax. Make sure to enhance this brain plasticity as much as possible and you will see how over time each working session will yield even more spectacular results.
Coincidentally, meditation promotes brain plasticity too.
Set Realistic Goals
If you have an event to plan in just a few days, try to prepare for it using the Pomodoro technique. When you put all your plans, travel schedules, and time needed for creative process on paper, it’s easy to determine if your assignment is manageable. Pomodoro lets you easily scan your to-do list, and if you realize you’ve set unrealistic goals, you should allow yourself to say no or to reschedule tasks.
Pomodoro has one great, almost hidden feature. It leaves no room for multitasking. In 25 minutes you can only focus on one thing only. There’s no way you can work on one task and then switch to another with same focus and zeal.
That’s why it’s crucial to stay realistic because multitasking, in all its praised glory, is simply a myth. Focus your attention on one task and allow yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labor during the next break.
Group Similar Tasks Together
In an ideal world, we have time to focus only on our assignments and forget about everything else. In the world we live in, there are dozens of notifications and alerts that can interrupt working sessions.
That’s why it’s wise to group similar tasks together, and maybe even assign a whole new Pomodoro interval for dealing with small tasks. Give yourself time to reply to emails and texts, to clear up your calendar, and even clean up your desk.
By batching up similar tasks together you can stay in the same mindset. If you need to chit chat with your colleagues to make plans for lunch, reply to texts, or schedule dentist appointment, do it all in the same batch.
Pomodoro Routine Will Keep You Productive
For many, routine is one of the most hated words in our language. We are all scared of being stuck in a rut and living in our own version of Groundhog Day. But this is a wrong notion because routine and structure boost productivity.
No matter how flexible we might think we are, by sticking to the same routine – mind, routine is not a schedule – we actually get things done. And that’s not the end of the story. By going through each day in a similarly structured fashion we can keep track of our workload and complete tasks more efficiently.
Can Pomodoro Help Us Deal With The Problem Of Perfection?
When reflecting on their last presentation, many event speakers are usually content with their performance, but believe there’s still room for improvement. While lifelong education, work, and striving for progress are noble virtues, aiming for perfection is what makes us unhappy.
When you have only 25 minutes to complete your task, once the timer rings you may feel underwhelmed. This is normal. To avoid giving yourself hard time for not achieving perfection in just 25 minutes, split your work into smaller tasks. Then, congratulate yourself on completing the task and use the 5-minute break to reset.
One of the most difficult aspects of the Pomodoro technique is to split the work into smaller units, into steps that bring you toward the ultimate goal. Doing this becomes easier over time but leave ample room for error and miscalculations in the first months. Also, a Pomodoro can always be stretched with a few minutes if you are in the flow and really want to finish the task at hand.
Think of this productivity approach as a powerful tool that helps you break down large assignments and focus on progress, not perfection. By sticking to a simple routine, a timer, and a piece of paper with your daily tasks written down, you can complete work assignments without feeling worn out.
When it comes to event management, you will have a clear list of things to do, when to do them, and which ones to do first. This way you can prepare for the event, keep track of all important tasks, and stay focused. The trick is to use the short pauses as a short pitstop that helps you go back to work even stronger, while the big break can unwind you completely, rejuvenating your brain juices by providing a fresh perspective and often a new angle of approach. The tasks ahead can be managed. One Pomodoro at a time.
About the Author: Alex Slichnyi, community manager at 99firms.com, is an avid learner of all things IT. He is a savvy SEO specialist who loves traveling because it allows him to experience hands-on the many facets of life. This hands-on approach can be seen in his work, which is meticulously crafted with daring vision by an open, yet methodical mind that likes to probe, test and improve. Communicating and learning are Alex’s core values that drive him forward.
I have been using the Pomodoro technique for some time now, and I have experienced everything that you mentioned here when it comes to increasing productivity and fighting off distractions. For me, having a short timeframe to work on a specific task that causes me to become laser focused to get it done compared to knowing you have the entire day to finish it. The longer time I give myself to complete a task, the more I find myself becoming prone to distractions.
One thing I found helpful while doing the Pomodoro Technique is that I keep a notepad and pen beside me. When a thought comes to my mind in the middle of the time period (like an errand to run, chore to do, or an idea for my business), I write it down. That way, I can get back to it later and not lose my focus.
Hi Adele — I’m really glad you’ve found the Pomodoro technique of help. That’s great news. And thanks for your comment — really appreciate it. I meditate as a way to keep my mind focused. When you get the chance, give meditation a try. That, combined with the Pomodoro technique, will be a powerful combination! Cheers, Jamie