Your system of organization can be just as personal as the events you plan. Tailor a method of organizing to how you work. It is likely you will borrow techniques from other event planners along the way. The steps you take to manage your organization now will set the tone in your career for years to come.
The first step to becoming organized is purchasing a good old-fashioned file cabinet. A file cabinet is perfect for organizing paperwork. Standard folders with tabs, used in conjunction with hanging file folders, work well in a file cabinet when used for each event. Place a name and date on each folder, and you are on your way.
However, if you are the type of person who follows the “out of sight, out of mind method,” this choice may not work for you. Of course, you will still need a file cabinet to archive information from past events. But you, being a visual person, may like to have easier access to your events in progress. Having all of this information in folders on your desk is not ideal. Now what?
How do I choose an organizational system that suits me?
The best way to determine how to organize your event-planning office is to evaluate the way you organize your personal life. If there are items and systems that work in your home life, do not hesitate to carry these over to your workspace.
Shadow Boxes or Cubicles
You would like to keep your events in progress accessible but not just sitting on your desk or atop a filing cabinet. Shadow file holders can be purchased and mounted on the wall. You can also invest in stackable cubicles or a large wall-mounted cubicle. You can organize each holder or cubicle a number of different ways.
One suggestion is labeling them each with a day of the week. All events in progress would be placed in their corresponding day of the week. For example, all functions falling on a Monday would be placed in the Monday holder. For larger offices, the same system can be used with a larger mounted unit, and each cubicle can be labeled with a month. All events in progress in May would be placed in the May cubicle. You could also label each cubicle with a letter of the alphabet, and the folders would be filed under the client's last name.
Try one method and test the waters before you decide which one is right for you.
A spindle is a spike used in restaurant kitchens. Orders are spiked on the spindle when the order is completed. Sometimes chefs need to refer back to the order, which is why the orders are spiked rather than thrown away.
Using this same idea, investing in a spindle will help you organize your receipts. As an event planner, you will find yourself buying items for events from time to time. Whether these items are purchased for your company or for your client, keeping your receipts in a central area until the time comes to draw up an invoice will keep you organized.
Taking notes is a big part of your job as an event planner. You should take notes during every meeting and phone call with your client. During the initial phone call, jot notes about dates, times, budget, and costs quoted so you can have this information to refer back to in your initial meeting. Once you have finished your conversation, rewrite or type your notes in a precise format. By rewriting your notes, you will be able to better decipher your handwriting and give more detail to the potential client's inquiry.
At times you may have to work from your car, an off-site location, or a satellite office. Having a briefcase or a clipboard with a storage compartment makes a great traveling office. Carry pens, a calendar, a calculator, business cards, and a notebook. A copy of your contacts' phone numbers is essential in case of a lost cell phone or computer crash.