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Never Miss a Deadline! Use these systems to keep your event planning on track

We’ve all been there…you’re managing five projects. Four of the projects have clients or committees or your supervisor involved in them, always checking in, requiring regular reports, keeping the communication and progress constantly moving. BUT, you have that one project, we’ll call it Project Backburner, that no one is really talking about or requiring anything immediately. It seems far off in the distance, and while you haven’t forgotten about it, it’s hanging out in the back of your mind, that spot in the back of your brain labeled If I Have Time where cleaning the oven and organizing your bottom desk drawer lives. With major deadlines for Project Backburner approaching, you know you will be able to scrap it together and pull it off (you’ve done this before), but is that going to cause avoidable stress, rack up overtime hours and anxiety amongst your team, and maybe produce a sub-par end product? Yes…to all of the above.

So...let’s chat about what you can do to keep projects moving at a steady and attainable pace as opposed to "backburnering" them. Here are some simple systems to implement that will require accountability to consistent project progress.


Be proactive in calling for a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check-in. It can be easy to avoid adding another meeting to your calendar, especially when you know you will have to prep for it. But, once its scheduled and the invite is sent, it’s a bajillion times (yes, that is a verified statistic 😉) more likely that you are going to do the work necessary so you show up to the meeting prepared and ready to be the rockstar. The more frequent the meeting, the smaller chunks of work are expected to be performed in the between time. Frequent meetings can help break event tasks into small and manageable batches that you can easily fit in between your other projects.


We discuss the important of sending regular updates HERE as well as suggestions on what to include in them. But to recap, updates to your team, client, supervisors and other stakeholders not only hold you accountable to making progress from update to update, but they help to reduce incoming inquiries (aka saves you time) by answering questions up front and demonstrate your competence in managing and reporting on a project.


Don’t let Project Backburner go two weeks without you doing something. The longer you go between working on a specific project the longer it takes you to remind yourself where everything is at. You end up spending unnecessary and repetitive time catching yourself up. This also applies to your team. If you talked to them about something in May but didn’t circle back until July, they likely forgot all of the details of what you discussed.

Set aside a small amount of time each day to work on projects that otherwise would fall to the wayside. Just 30 minutes of work on a project can help to keep the wheels moving forward. Time limitations freak you out? Consider challenging yourself to doing just 5 things on a project a day. The tasks can be big or small but at least they are something….and we all know; something is better than nothing.


You created a planning timeline for a reason, so don’t let it go unchecked with everything falling in the past due category. Regularly check your timeline and let that help you craft a to do list of small actionable steps that can keep your project on schedule.

I like to check all of my planning timelines Monday morning. This helps me form a to do list for the week and identify small tasks versus big tasks. I then can fill up my day with a mix of both which keeps the work interesting and my brain fresh.


Most projects are going to have a certain amount of tasks that require some dedicated time on your part while also a good portion of tasks that require you to collect data, information, quotes and reports from other people. If you are having difficulty carving out time to perform your big tasks, get requests out to other parties for things you will need to have when you do have the time to work on them. For example, you might be tasked with developing a budget for a new festival. This is a large undertaking that requires quotes from various sub-contractors. Send out five emails a day to people with the information on what needs to be quoted. Before you know it, you will have all of the info you need so that crafting the budget is just a plug-it-in type of exercise.

It can be easy to push a project off to the side when there aren’t outside forces holding you accountable to them. In this situation, implement your own systems of accountability to ensure the project is continually moving forward. This goes a long way in demonstrating your ability to balance multiple projects simultaneously while staying on deadline and always making progress. Most importantly, it bolsters your position as the driving force in the project’s success. You don’t need a client or supervisor to push to stay on track. You don’t need a looming deadline to finally get your butt in gear. You are consistent, organized and on schedule.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Thompson

Jenna is a mountain based Yogi with a love for veggie focused foods. When she's not in Warrior Pose you can find her spending time with her Avalanche Rescue Dog Luna with a Matcha Latte in hand!


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