I was once on your side of the meeting equation; I too was a meeting planner. Oh yes, I do remember the stress! But I have to admit that I did not really get how stressful the job was, on the scale of stressful jobs, until the career report came out earlier this year. Since it has been awhile since we talked about de-stressing, I thought it may be time for a re-visit.
If I were to say something along the lines of “eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest and remember that it is not the end of the world,” it would probably stress you out even more. It’s difficult to eat “right” when you travel a lot, exercise takes more time than you have, rest would be nice if you were not one person performing a three person job and yes, one bad meeting would most definitely feel like the end of the world. So I am not going to suggest these things.
Instead we are going to tackle stress meeting planner style; quickly, efficiently and with a smile.
- Part of your stress may stem from the fact that at times it feels as if you have a thankless job – very few truly understand how much creativity, work, effort, stamina and smarts is required to create a successful meeting. We are going to take care of this right now – to you I say “Thank You!” I know how hard you work. I am impressed over and over again about the dedication and intelligence of the meeting planning community. You are amazing, resourceful and gifted. “Thank you!” (Also, it may not be a bad idea to share the report with your boss. Don’t be shy about pointing out that you hold space with firefighters and the police!)
- Every hour or so, get up, walk around for a bit, then take five deep breaths. You will forget, so keep time via an app or an online timer. This takes only a few minutes and will do you a world of good.
- Never end your day without a to-do list. Having it all down in one place will save you time and energy. Keep a notebook on hand to write down your to-do’s or use an app like Remember the Milk.
- Schedule body checks. Maybe a couple of times a day, let’s say 11am and 3pm for example, do a quick body check. Where are your shoulders? Up around your ears; drop them back down. Drop your chin to your chest and feel the stretch along the back of your neck. Been typing all day, give your hands a quick massage and stretch. If you are experiencing eye strain put your palms over your closed eyes for one minute. Scan yourself, figure out what part is holding the stress and let it go!
Odds are you have read that true stress release requires 75 minute yoga sessions or hours of meditation. Such advice does not figure meeting planners into the equation. Meeting planners are a rare breed; you can do more in less time and make it all look so easy. So take that quick, efficient, making-it-look-easy talent over to your de-stressing. Defying the odds is simply in your nature!