Be Prepared to Lose Stress

Much of the pressure that individuals feel on their job stems from their concern about their performance. They know that they must perform well on the job to stay with the company. Take the case of Elena. She works for a large association in Chicago and is involved with the planning, coordination, and on-site administration of many of the association’s meetings. Sometimes, she works for half a year to make sure that a meeting comes off without a hitch. Months in advance, she undertakes dozens of activities, including visiting potential sites, walking the halls and inspecting the facilities, even going up to rooms within a hotel where members may be staying. She speaks with the hotel or convention hall catering division, their AV staff, and security personnel. She may also contact dozens of speakers to retain the few that could be right for the program. She handles entertainment, partners’ programs, childrenÂ’s activities, receptions, farewells, coffee breaks, tours, parties, and other events, all to ensure that meetings run smoothly.

Suppose that you were a meeting planner like Elena, faced with pleasing many people, and then after the conference having to address hundreds of details: requests to fulfill, items to box up and ship back, checks to be dispensed, and notes to be typed.

Even amidst all this, there will be time for the post-meeting tasks if you take a day of two off. How can this be? Through carefully planning, you can feel good about having the meeting end, and then partake of the resort or hotel facility, in a way you simply couldn’t have when the meeting was in session.

Here’s how you could do it:

* Before you leave, clear your desk completely of all extraneous items. You want

to return to a cleared, clean desk and office. * Complete as much correspondence, phone calls, faxes, and email that you can. This reduces the workload when you return.

* Get one of your office co-workers to cover for your phone calls and correspondence while you’re at the meeting. Offer to do the same when he/she has to be away.

* Get enough rest for several days in a row before the meeting takes place. You don’t want to head into any such venture already tired.

* Pack several days beforehand so that you’re not caught in a last minute rush.

* Ship a box of personal items to yourself in advance, so that they’re at the hotel or resort facility when you get there. These could include such diverse items as your snorkeling equipment, your favorite novel, your favorite snacks, or extra clothes.

* Obviously, inform those that you report to that you’d like to take a vacation day or two directly following the meeting. Explain your plan as to how you’ll be taking care of the residual paperwork, and return essential items.

* Assemble boxes at the meeting site pre-addressed back to your office so that you can easily pack up all the remaining meeting artifacts and ship them off. Nearly every hotel and convention facility today has a business office that can assist you.

* Choose to feel good about this strategy for giving yourself a needed break. After all, you deserve it!