Back-to-School Survival Tips for Working Event Professionals
As the calendar flips to September and the sizzling summer comes to an end, many are in the throes of the back-to-school season.
While the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and brand-new notebooks is inspiring for many, the start of school often brings nerves, new routines, and new challenges. And with the ongoing pandemic, the beginning of this school year has even more added stress.
Since event planning consistently ranks as one of the most stressful jobs of all, we’ve curated a list of back-to-school survival tips for all working parents. Get ready to survive and thrive this school year!
Redefine the Concept of Balance
Mobile devices, social media, texts, video calls, and more keep busy #eventprofs connected with clients and prospects – but at the same time, make it much harder to step away to disconnect. Coupled with the past 18 months, many have found the traditional work-life balance is off-kilter.
Use the start of a new school year to redefine what balance looks like. Let go of the illusion that there is a perfect balance. What may feel balanced for one week may not work the next. Instead, consider defining balance as what seems right at a particular moment, adapting as needed as work and personal needs ebb and flow.
Nick Borelli, director of marketing growth for Allseated, said #eventprofs schedules are particularly variable. “In years past, I was either 100 percent available to do anything we needed for the kids, or I was out for days either presenting at an event or attending a conference.”
He explained working parents need to cut themselves slack. “When people talk about work/life balance, it’s essential to define the scale. If you judge yourself by what you did on a given day or week, even a hectic month, you could be in for a disappointment. But, on the other hand, if you look at quarters or your year and realize that working the way you do afford more opportunities that a more uniform schedule wouldn’t, you will feel better about the decisions you’ve made.”
Plan It Out
The quintessential characteristic of #eventprofs comes in handy to ease back-to-school stress. With the influx of school-related activities and tasks, each week, talk through the upcoming schedule and come up with a plan.
While the schedule will likely change each week and last-minute additions will happen, having a handle on the school, work, and personal obligations make it easier to conquer the week ahead.
Get Back into a Routine
Summer activities, camps, vacations, and spur-of-the-moment adventures often put routines on pause.
But as school schedules start up again, settling back into a routine helps decrease stress. One tip: before school starts, begin by practicing earlier bedtimes and wake-up routines. Think of it as a rehearsal for the big back-to-school event!
Have an Outlet
Maybe it’s crushing a VR workout, whipping up a new recipe, rocking out to a favorite playlist, or scrolling through TikTok with your child and trying out the latest viral challenge.
Conquer stress by finding time to squeeze in your favorite activity that sparks joy. Even if you don’t have time to complete the entire activity, a few minutes spent doing something that makes you smile can wash away the day’s frustrations.
Let Go of the Guilt
Until science comes up with a solution that allows us to be in two places at once, there will be times when you can’t physically be present in all the places you need to be for both work and personal purposes.
While missing a school event often triggers many feelings of guilt, don’t beat yourself up. Easier said than done, there are still numerous other opportunities to be present for your kids. Find another time to spend time together and create a special memory. Your kids will know that you are still there for them, even when you can’t physically be with them 100 percent of the time.
Take a Pause
When the day passes by jumping from one client meeting to another, then straight into the after-school rush of homework, driving to activities, meal prep, and more, a few minutes of peace and quiet often seems unattainable.
But taking a short pause to do nothing for a few minutes can be one of the best ways to recharge. Maybe it’s arriving a few minutes early for pick-up and finding a quiet space to chill, or walking different route home from drop-off, try to find a short amount of time to clear your mind.
Take a pause from always-on emails and texts too. Set times – like during dinner or breakfast – that are screen-free for the entire family. Remember, work is part of life, but not all of life. We are more than the emails and texts we deal with.
Find a Supportive Employer
Over the last 18 months, employers have become more supportive of working parents, recognizing the challenges of simultaneously working and parenting. Let’s hope this trend continues. Sympathetic colleagues, supervisors, and leaders who understand it’s give and take and support and encourage flexibility make everything a little less stressful.
Meredith Vogel, director of marketing for Allseated, says she was able to find the right balance for raising her son and being around him while working and advancing her career. “It’s extremely important to work for companies that are understanding of what it takes for parents to balance work with family – Allseated is amazing at this! – which alleviates the stress and pressure of trying to juggle both.”
From groceries and meals to clothing, school supplies, and more, ordering online is more accessible and convenient than ever before. Spare yourself from back-to-school shopping or weekly grocery runs with cranky kids with a few simple swipes and clicks.
You’ll save time and energy – not to mention stress – by tackling your shopping to-do list while waiting in pick-up lines or checking out from the comfort of home.
Connect with Other Working Parents
The adage “it takes a village” is especially relevant today. Aside from leaning into support from extended family or close friends, connecting with other working parents drives home you aren’t the only one going through the same emotions and situations.
With similar schedules, it is often easier to meet up after working hours or during lunch breaks instead of a random, middle-of-the-day playdate. And even if meeting up physically is a logistical challenge that is too hard to manage at this time, texting, Facetime calls, or sharing quick snaps are still good ways to connect, cope, commiserate or vent.
Frame Family Time
Nick offers one final tip for parents with crazy event industry lives. “Take pictures of family time and keep them chronologically ordered. Then, when you’re questioning how balanced your life truly is, flip through the photos and see all the quality times you’ve had together.”
To make it easy, Nick suggests a video diary like 1 Second Everyday. “Record the best part of each day so you can remind yourself about all the positives in your life and see a snapshot of how much time is spent on work versus your family.”
The thought of taking time for yourself, taking a pause, and connecting with other parents to an already packed work and home schedule may seem overwhelming, especially for busy #eventprofs.
But remember, managing your time—especially during back-to-school season—will never be perfect or foolproof. It’s an ongoing balancing act. Like Hillary Clinton, a working parent and former United States Secretary of State, said, “Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.”
Are you also an #eventprof that needs to juggle between work and family? What is your secret weapon to survive? Share below!
From work-life balance to productivity tips and more education for event professionals, Allseated has you covered. Read the latest trends and advice on our blog.