We are living in an increasingly digitized world as remote work and virtual events become the norm. As personal and professional lives merge in the home office, avoiding burnout is becoming harder than ever.
Burnout can have grave consequences on your personal health, as well as your ability to perform professionally. Here are five tips to keep in mind to prevent burnout while planning virtual events.
1. Things Will Go Wrong — Accept It
A significant cause of burnout is trying to micromanage every detail and putting too much pressure on yourself to run the perfect event. When you're hosting large-scale meetings, especially in today's virtual world, there are some things that are out of your control. From technological issues on other people's devices to speakers turning up late, you can't be everywhere at once to solve these problems.
From the outset, cultivating a mindset that's adaptable and flexible will help to prevent burnout. Once you embrace the fact that things will go wrong, you'll be empowered to go with the flow, and fix what you can and accept what you can't. The event will still be a success, without the impact on your emotional wellbeing.
2. Run Through the Meeting as an Attendee
Designing and executing a virtual event takes a huge amount of work. But no matter how much effort you put into creating an intuitive and functional event, it's inevitable that as the creator you'll have some blind spots. To ensure your meeting is as seamless and successful as possible, you need to switch up your perspective.
A practice run-through of the event from the participant's perspective is essential for two reason. First, it will highlight any problems that people might run into — things you might have missed when looking from the top down. But more importantly for combating burnout, it gives you a chance to explore the virtual world you've built. This switch in perspectives can be refreshing and help re-energize the planning process.
3. Take Scheduling Seriously
Back in the days of physical events, planned out of a physical office, we had a physical world which created boundaries between one task and the next. For example, stepping into a meeting room would allow you to switch focus onto the task at hand, and leaving work at the end of the day helped you switch off. When you're planning a virtual event while working from home, you need to find a way to replicate these markers without the help of physical boundaries. This is where scheduling comes in.
Building a tight schedule and sticking to it, from when you start work, take lunch and plan your meetings, will help you move between tasks throughout the day. This helps your brain to focus on important tasks, as well as learn to let go at the end of the day, saving you from burnout when things build up.
4. Set Boundaries
Burnout is becoming increasingly common as life and work overlap more in a virtual age. Setting boundaries is something that everyone needs to learn to do, and becoming adept at prioritizing these walls both in our personal and professional lives can lead to greater emotional wellbeing.
We're all driven to do the best we can on any given project, but an impulse to hand over our personal phone number or make ourselves available to clients 24/7 can often be detrimental in the long run. Setting boundaries doesn't have to entail major changes. For example, you can strive to conduct more business through email rather than giving out your cell number, or switch your phone off at the end of the day. Taking a walk at the end of each day is another good option that will force you to step away from the screen and shut off after work.
No matter how much we might want to resist admitting it, we all need a little help sometimes. Delegation is an essential part of leadership and when you're planning a virtual event it's important to distribute tasks to those who are best suited to tackle them.
At the beginning of the planning process, set aside some time to figure out what tasks only you can do and then delegate the rest. Learning to let go can be hard, but it will make the workload more manageable and enjoyable. In addition, having more people involved in the process can allow for more ideas and creativity, which have become essential for creating a standout virtual event today.
Katherine Rundell is a writer and marketer at Academized. She has spent two decades as a consultant in human resources, enabling people and organizations to work together for better outcomes.