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7 steps to stress-free planning of your business or family event

Your event or simcha, be it a conference, special party, wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah doesn't have to be stressful. Does the very idea make you feel tense? With forward planning, your upcoming event can be turned into a real joy. By planning ahead, you'll not only lower your stress level, but also that of others around you!

Anyone can organize an event, even if you don't consider yourself to be the most organized person, or don't have the time. Simply follow these 7 steps and you'll see a difference…

Make an initial list in table form, in any random order of what needs to get done.
No details needed yet. Only general words of what you need to do (i.e. clothes, catering, etc). Throw in anything you can think of. Once you have your basic list, assume you're going to be adding in ideas & additional things to do. That's why it's ideal to computerize your list, so you can easily add in or delete items afterwards in an organized manner.

Rearrange the order of each item in your list, according to the order that you will tackle the task.  It's ok if you adjust the order later. Even at this stage, when the list is in it's early stages, this step will assist you in feeling more under control.

Add in a column to your table, which will be used to record the time frame of each item in your list. Start with the item that needs to be done the furthest away from your event, i.e. the first item that you listed in step 2. Label the items as follows: 6 months before, 2 months before, 2 weeks before, 5 days before, etc. After doing this, you may see that you've re-arranged a few of the items from step 2. This basic outline will enable you to take a realistic look at the schedule ahead of you, and see what you need to take care of when.

Now it's time to add more detail to each item.
Don't spend too much time thinking at this stage. Literally jot down anything you     
can think of related to that point (i.e. under the clothing heading – who to buy for, any
specific colors or styles required, etc). You will fine-tune your list later. Now you're
thinking freely, & can later add or delete any items that don't matter any more.

Re-look at each point in your list from step 4 and add any items you think require more detail. Make a note to inquire about any unanswered questions, or who you'll need to speak to. At this stage, you want to know that you have all the information at your fingertips, so that when you're ready to proceed, you'll know who to call. (i.e. caterers - ask friends or search the internet for options. You don't need to deal with the actual menu yet, just make a list of potential caterers).

Add in three extra columns to your table.
The 1st is for extra notes that need to be made, the 2nd column is for who you can delegate the task to, and the 3rd is a column to happily place a large tick or check once the item has been completed.

Now you're ready to move ahead with ordering or tackling the top item on your list. This is the item that you wrote in step 2 which needs to be tackled first. Look at all the details in your list that are associated with this point. Deal with each detail in a way that suits you best. Depending on when you started your initial list, it may be necessary to start with a few tasks at the same time. Here too, you can tackle each in a logical manner.

Once your event is over, it's recommended you re-look at your list and at this stage add any points that you may have forgotten, which you can use or adjust for your next event. Write it down right away! There's nothing like making notes when your memory is still fresh.

For comments, questions or advice regarding your upcoming event, we'd be happy to hear from you.

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