Organizing big events with less stress!

Have you been to an event where it seemed like the person who organized it forgot that they were having guests?  It is understandable that at big events such as weddings, baby showers or graduation parties that it is all about the people being honored.  However, if when you are planning a party or an event and think about it from the point of view of the people attending, it can make it more enjoyable for everyone involved.  

Here are some tips to consider when planning an event or party:

*How is the parking for your guests?

If you are holding an event at a venue, is parking included or are your guests going to have to pay.  Is there enough parking and how close is it?  Are people going to have to walk a mile in fancy shoes to get to where the event is being held?  I attended a wedding that was out in country and the bride and groom hired a shuttle service to get their guests from their hotels to the wedding location and then back again.  This was a thoughtful service that made the event that much more enjoyable. 

*What about the weather?

How likely is it that it is going to rain?  Do you have cover for people to stay dry?  Is it going to be sunny and hot and will there be shade?  Do you have elderly guests that will need to be out of the sun and may need air-conditioning? 

All of these things are very important to the enjoyment level of everyone attending the event.  It may mean renting an extra tent or some fans but it will be money well spent so that you are not worried about it during the party.  Also, think about having beverages available to help alleviate the either cold or hot that you cannot control.  Coffee and cold water that is readily available can go a long way in providing comfort to your guests.

*Think about starting on time.

Right after the weather and the parking, the time that the event starts and if it starts on time is a major factor in whether your guests enjoy themselves.  A few minutes is not a big deal but when you start 20 minutes, 30 minutes or 45 minutes late, it can put a damper on your party.  For some events, this is not a factor because people show up and the party starts whether you are ready or not.  However, some events don’t start until you say they do and this is where you should think about getting it started as close as possible to the time on the invitation.  Some people have hired babysitters or have something to do after the party.  Be respectful of your guests and their time by not starting late.

*Think about getting some help.

When we are the host of an event, we sometimes feel obligated to do everything ourselves.  However, delgation can be a helpful skill in having a successful and stress free event.  Not only can family members help but you can also enlist an event organizer, wedding coordinator or personal assistant.  A big event is full of people that you have not seen in a long time.  It is a chance to visit and catch up with them.  If you have too much on your plate with the organizing and running of the event, it can decrease your enjoyment a great deal which in turn decreases the enjoyment  of everyone at the party.  Someone who you hire can be completely focused on running the event so you can attend the event.  It can make the difference in whether you come away feeling good or exhausted never wanting to host anything ever again.

What other tips do you have when organizing a big event?  Have you had an experience either going to or hosting an event that you will soon not forget.  Let me know!


The Battle against being over-scheduled

Being a personal assistant, I love helping busy people organize their lives and make things easier by taking tasks off of their plate. That being said, I believe that it is always good to re-evaluate what you have in your daily, weekly and monthly schedule. We can become slaves to our schedule and it is good to ask yourself occasionally, “Is this really how I wanted to be spending my time?” If you are involved in a community organization and find that it has started taking up much more time than you originally committed to, it could be time to re-assess and set some new boundaries. It is important to keep your activities in check so that you are not exhausted which could lead to you neglecting your mental and/or physical health. If you are giving more of yourself than you are comfortable with, it could also result in feelings of being taken advantage of and being under appreciated. It is good to re-set your boundaries with whatever activity it is that has started to take over your day. If you do that, you will find you enjoy the activity more and you will have more time for yourself which gives you a more balanced and healthy you!!


What do to with that old cell phone? Help someone else!

A question that comes up when I am assisting my clients with cleaning out their spaces is, “What do I do with my old cell phones?” The good news is that a lot of charities will accept cell phones and it is good to recycle. Old cell phones have a huge impact on the environment and if they can be repurposed to help someone, everyone wins. Cell phones, even without a wireless plan, can always call 911 for emergency help. This allows old cell phones to be of great use to vulnerable populations. Some of the places that you can donate old cell phones are to senior centers, women’s shelters and senior citizens with disabilities or limited income. Another option is to donate your old cell phone to soldiers serving in the military. They can use a calling card to call home while they are serving our country. An important thing to remember is that you will want to erase the data on the phone before donation. Most cell phones have a “master reset” function which will clear your information. You will also want to verify that your account has been cancelled with your service provider. Donate away!!!


OHIO and I don't mean the state

This little acronym is helpful when sorting through anything but can be most impactful to change our lives when we apply it to paperwork. We have all done it, looked through a stack of mail or papers on our desk and dealt with the easy things and set the rest aside to be looked at later. Sometimes it may seem that the pile of paperwork did not get any smaller even after it was sorted. An acronym that I find helpful to solve this problem is OHIO. OHIO stands for Only Handle It Once. When you decide to sit down with a pile of paperwork it is best to do it next to the shredder and the filing cabinet so they are easily accessible. The key to only handle it once is to deal with each item individually and immediately. Once you are done with it, it should be put it in its proper place. If you need to make a phone call or fill something out, if at all possible, do it before moving onto the next piece of paper. This may seem easier said than done and I admit that it will take some practice. However, if you keep repeating the phrase in your mind while sorting through your stack of papers, you might find that it does get easier and quickly becomes a habit. Hopefully, a habit that will leave your world free of unnecessary paperwork and will cut down on the time you spend searching for that receipt you need because it is in your file where it belongs. Go OHIO!


Welcome to The Zen Maker

I am excited to be starting a new chapter in my life with The Zen Maker. I am a personal assistant because I like to help people make their lives better, every day. This blog will be a place to come to find ideas on simplifying your life, organizational tools, and other helpful tips that will make your life better. You might be saying to yourself, I am not a movie star or the CEO of a large company, what am I going to do with a personal assistant? How much free time would you have if all you had me do for you was grocery shopping twice a month, picking up your dry cleaning and buying a birthday present and having it come to you gift wrapped? That might clear out two Saturdays worth of errands for you and allow you to enjoy your free time doing something else such as going to the zoo with your family, going away for the weekend or taking a day to spend with your loved ones. It is easy to get started and The Zen Maker packages and prices will be up on the website very soon. Stay tuned!!!