The goal is to have flexibility as a living, breathing, vital aspect of work, a default mode rather than a privilege.

While there is an obvious excitement and energy that surrounds the event management and planning profession, being an event professional oftentimes comes with quite a bit of stress. Repeatedly for event planners, the career/life dance can prove to be elusive.

A hectic schedule that frequently covers weekends, nights or holidays; an email inbox that bursts out of its seams; and constant client changes demand event planners steady attention and flexibility. Projects may also arrive on short notice with tight timeframes for execution. Planners typically serve clients or connect with suppliers in a variety of time zones and the resulting days can be long.

In an attempt to overhaul corporate culture thinking, the American Psychological Association and the Society for Human Resource Management have now started using the term “work-life fit.” The goal is to have flexibility as a living, breathing, vital aspect of work, a default mode rather than a privilege. ‘‘Work-life fit’’ versus “balance” better captures the way various workers try to piece the differing parts of their lives together.

Without a decent harmony between your private life and all of your events, exhaustion and burnout could easily be on the horizon. However, event planners can succeed in what can be a demanding profession and still achieve a degree of personal equity. So how can one arrive at such calm, steady place in life after 14 hours on the job? Having concrete rules and guidelines for structuring your daily life can help you prioritize and prepare for curve balls that get thrown your way. Limit the out of control expectations and begin to follow these practical work-life rules and hopefully you’ll start to have higher quality sleep, more breakfasts with your children, more visits to the gym, more time with aging parents and less time wasted on the road.

1. Make Distinctions Between ‘Work’ and ‘Life’

Define what relaxation truly means to you and find out what exhausts you. Especially since planners don’t have a 9 to 5 job, it is not always easy to make that distinction. What is your definition of work and what is private time to you? It is actually better to position it as a good balance between exertions versus relaxation. Which activities cost you energy and which ones replenish it?

2. Define Daily Priorities

Start off your workday with a list of priorities. Determine the most important matters that you definitely want to finish – both in the office and at home. Give these the focus before hitting on anything miscellaneous. You know that no one is going to tell you when to finish a work project, get to the gym, learn new job skills, get your car serviced, or take your son to the movies. This is the daily task – taking responsibility to make what matters to you happen, day-to-day, in the face of competing demands. It’s what planners do best!

3. Identify Productive Time

Do whatever works best for you. Think of it as your “quiet time.” Use your quiet time for brainstorming and creative thinking. Whenever the demands of work spill over beyond the boundaries of the regular work day, get up an hour earlier or stay up later based on your personal rhythm. Focus on challenging tasks that require your undivided attention during those “golden hours.”

4. Focus

Forget about that hip multi-tasking. Numerous studies have shown that this is a detriment to your productivity. Focus 100% on the task you are working on and don’t squander time on excess information, opinions and additional details. Deciding beforehand what you would like to get done and focus solely on that goal, frees up a lot of wasted mental energy on outside forces.

5. Create Reminders

A good symmetry between professional exertion and personal relaxation also means that you take breaks regularly and sufficiently. Put a reminder on your phone or computer that you have to take a break (ex: bathroom, stretch, fresh air, eat a proper meal or exercise.) Stepping away and then returning to work generally helps to complete a job with less stress and a fresh perspective. Small changes like this have shown to help improve general mood, sleep cycles and keep you healthy.

6. All In

Don’t run separate work and personal calendars or priority lists. Keep everything in one strategic place; therefore, you are making decisions based on a complete picture of your commitments on and off the job. If you receive a meeting request at work, think twice before saying “yes.” Is it urgent? What else do you have planned? If there’s a conflict, suggest an alternative. The point here is that your scheduling decisions can offer a brief pause, become intentional and then you’re not running on autopilot.

7. Don’t Neglect Rest

Find out what rest means to you. If your workplace has flex hours, have an honest talk with your boss to come up with a plan that will help you be more productive at work and achieve more balance during or after an event’s hectic schedule. Pinpoint when you energy is at its low point. If you try to push through it, the law of diminishing returns will kick in and you may not be as productive. Whenever you have a demanding client, schedule some down time for when their project is over. This may take the form of staying an extra couple of days at your event destination, booking health treatments or using a couple of vacation days to recharge.

8. Find Support

Is the stress threatening to get the better of you? Are you unable to find any peace? Then you should seek help in the manner best suited to you. Join a professional group where you can share your stories with others, take a course in meditation, stress management or find a life coach. This way you handle exertion and exhaustion more conscientiously. Moreover, you will be with like-minded people or taught practical techniques that will help you to resist stress moments and to maintain a good overall balance.