Have you ever attended an event with the best of intentions like sticking to your diet, getting some exercise, not drinking too much coffee (or alcohol) and ambitions for getting through a to-do list as long as your arm?
Then you have one-too-many the night before it starts, you wake up a little late, and the whole event goes by in a blur of pastries, strong coffee and a schedule more dictated by proximity than priority?
We all know events are hard work – whether you’re attending, sponsoring, press or the organiser – so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you want to achieve, and set aside good habits for bad as you play catch-up.
But it doesn’t have to be like that!
Some people are amazing at achieving equilibrium at events of all shapes and sizes, tackling whatever is thrown at them while looking fresh and sharp throughout the day.
What is their secret?
Chances are, they have a really great morning routine worked out so they start the day on the front foot, and rarely get knocked off balance after that.
“But I don’t have time in the mornings!” is probably your first response to this.
Think about it for a moment though. There is one thing that is 100% in your control before the day starts, and that is when you wake up!
1. Wake up early
So, the first and most critical ritual for having a successful day is getting up in good time, to create just 60 minutes of ‘you’ time that lets you get set up for the day without any interruptions.
With that precious hour carved out, you can figure out the best routine for you.
Not sure where to start? Here are 7 additional steps that will help set you up for maximum productivity the rest of the day.
2. Exercise (10 minutes)
10 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time for exercise, but getting your metabolism going first thing in the morning will help you fire on all cylinders from the word go, digest your breakfast more efficiently (to avoid feeling sluggish), shake off any residual sleepiness (and alcohol) and help you feel you’ve achieved an immediate milestone.
What worthwhile exercise can you do in 10 minutes?
You can try the well-known 7-minute workout, which also has a whole host of apps available for download so you can time it properly, or you can practice some yoga if squats and push-ups aren’t your thing. Anything that works out a range of muscle groups and increases your heart rate should be beneficial.
3. Eat a healthy breakfast (10 minutes)
After exercising, it’s important to grab some healthy food that won’t sap your energy.
Try to avoid reaching straight for a coffee and pastries.
Coffee gives you a big kick of caffeine, but it’s not distributed evenly, so you get a sudden rush of energy, but this is then followed by a crash and you’ll feel tired by mid-morning.
Similarly, avoiding sugary foods like pastries is a must. Sugary foods act in a similar way to caffeine, giving you a sugar-rush, which provides an energy boost, but this is quickly sapped as it wears off, leaving you feeling fatigued and battling to stay awake.
Heavy breakfasts should also be avoided as you’ll have to divert a lot of energy to digesting it, making it harder to focus on what matters.
4. Clear your inbox (20 minutes)
I know I know, your inbox is overflowing and you couldn’t possibly tame it in 20 minutes!
However, in 20 minutes you can probably run through your recent messages (those you haven’t checked since the previous day) and flag or star the important ones, delete the spam and respond to anything that requires 1 sentence answers or are really urgent.
Anything starred/flagged can then be added into your priorities list (see below) if it is important, or left to attack when you have a spare moment during the day.
By taking control of your inbox this way, you’ll feel informed and on-top of everything you need to be, and this will stop you feeling distracted by it the rest of the day.
5. Create a priority list (5 minutes)
A cluttered mind does not help your productivity or effectiveness.
That’s why you should take 5 minutes to mentally shift through the day ahead, note down the key 3 things you need to achieve during the event, and push everything else ‘below the fold’ as bonus achievements one you’ve completed your 3 key goals.
If it takes longer than 5 minutes to know your top 3 priorities, you’re probably over thinking them.
If possible, write them down on a scrap of paper so you get the satisfaction of physically ticking each one off as you achieve them, and it makes it harder for you to move them around for new goals as the day goes on, keeping you focused on what you felt was most important at the start of the day.
6. Schedule some down time (5 mins)
It’s really important to schedule down time during the day. The human body just isn’t designed to be on ‘go’ 24/7.
Research has shown that even in waking hours, our body follows an ‘ultradian rhythm’, meaning we work best in 90 minute cycles. Even if you don’t subscribe to this theory, it’s hard to deny that trying to stay switched on for hours at a time leads to burnout eventually (or an overdosing of coffee and the eventual crash).
Take five minutes now to find pockets in your day where 10-15 minutes of down time isn’t going to impact your big goals, and put them in your calendar with a reminder.
Ideally, use these scheduled breaks to top up your energy with a healthy snack and get hydrated with water too.
7. Catch up with the news (15 minutes)
Events are filled with conversations, and current affairs or breaking news are a great way to engage with people who you haven’t met before.
Try to avoid controversial subjects, because a heated exchange is rarely conducive to building relationships if you’ve only just met. However good news, film releases, celebrity gossip, sports results and the like can be great topics to kick off a conversion with most people.
If you’re looking for more relevant and specific topics with which to engage your peers at the event, then you can ditch the national news and spend 15 minutes browsing your social feeds to catch any trends bubbling to the surface and stay abreast of current social media exchanges.
8. And relax (5 minutes)
In the last 5 minutes before you start your usual day, just relax.
Close your eyes or look out of a window, steady and listen to your breathing, try to slow down your internal thought processes and visualise what your successful day will look, sound and feel like. Smile. Relax your limbs. Breath deeply. Enjoy the silence and the control you have right now, and over the rest of your day.
Now you’re really ready to have a great event!
What are your top tips for getting prepared for a successful event? Do you have morning rituals you love? Let us know in the comments below!
If you liked this, you should also enjoy 14 Traits of Highly Effective Event Professionals.
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