Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How do you manage the stress of meeting planning?

“Isn’t meeting planning really stressful? How do you manage?”

These are just a couple of the questions I often get from people new to the field of meeting planning or from those who really don’t know what it is that we do. That’s OK. Most jobs have some stress – it’s nearly unavoidable in this day and age – so the questions are still valid. So how do I manage to do my job and keep my sanity? Here are my top three techniques:

One: I make sure that I have some kind of physical activity each week, preferably two or three times a week. For me, the main activity here is soccer. I get exercise, some social interaction, and don’t have to think a lot. This offers a much-needed counter to a job that often entails long hours behind a desk, working on my own or in small groups, and exerting my mind for significant periods of time.

Two: I read for pleasure. Yes, you read that right, I read for pleasure. This is a very different mental activity from reading for content or to learn a subject. It is also quite different from the types of mental activity that my job requires. I will often read during my lunch break when the change in mental stimulus will re-energize my mind and help me get through the rest of my day.

Three: I make sure to set aside time for friends, family, and/or pets. I get to relax and enjoy life. I may get together with friends for a game or movie night, cuddle with my cats, or simply spend quality time with my wife and daughter. It really doesn’t matter what I’m doing – so long as I’m doing something with them.

Ultimately, though, what this really all comes down to finding things to do that you enjoy that can offer a mental and physical change from the routine of your work. If variety is the spice of life, then add as much spice as you can – it will make life, and your job, much more fun.

~ Karl Baur, CMP • Project Director, RDL enterprises