From summer balls to company Christmas parties, we’ve hosted hundreds of celebrations at the HAC. We know just how much work goes into planning the perfect event, and there’s no getting around it: organising a party is stressful, requiring rigorous scheduling and plenty of behind-the-scenes effort. With this in mind, we’ve come up with 8 hacks you might want to add to your repertoire, to help boost productivity, manage your time, and, ultimately, make planning your next party that little bit easier.
Turn your phone into a portable scanner
If you’re an Apple user, you’re in luck: party planning just got portable. You can use the Notes app to scan documents and add signatures with your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Apple has a guide here, but the premise is simple: open Notes, tap the camera button and then the Scan Documents option, take a photo, adjust the corners to fit the page, then select Keep Scan to create a digital copy. There are also plenty of apps available that offer similar functions for non-Apple users (such as Adobe Scan), so you can save yourself grappling with office scanners and piles of paperwork no matter your software preferences.
Keep a separate inspiration page
Diaries and weekly organisers are a staple in every event planner’s day-to-day, but it can be useful to keep a separate book (or digital equivalent) purely for ideas as and when they come to you. All too often, when you’re planning a party, you’ll find inspiration for other events in the process (say, themes for a Winter ball while you’re organising an annual summer celebration). Jot down these ideas as notes-to-self – they don’t have to be detailed or fully-formed. They only need to be comprehensible to you. That way, they’re all in one place, and you can pull out this dedicated page whenever inspiration is needed: a creativity short-cut that your future self will thank you for.
Double up your calendar
Duplicating your calendar may sound strange – counterintuitive, even – but hear us out. Creating a collaborative calendar brings coherence to the planning process. Whether you’re heading a team or part of one, everyone can see what’s happening, when, and with whom. It gives you a birds-eye view of the project, preventing clashes, double-booking and potential miscommunication. The more cohesive the team, the greater the chances of a smooth-running party. Plus, joint calendars can assist with workload distribution, so you don’t end up juggling too many plates at once.
Divvy up the day with time blocking
When you’ve got hundreds of micro-decisions to make – from Christmas tree hire through to catering menus – and only so many hours in the working day, you’ve got to be savvy with the time you do have. Consider following a “sandwich” structure, portioning your day into three blocks to maximise productivity. Instead of jumping head-first into your inbox the second you start work, allow yourself half an hour in the morning to create a list of manageable goals and priorities. Allocate another thirty minutes (ideally before you sign off) to wrap up loose ends, clean out digital folders, and update your suppliers, clients, and team as required.
Centralise your social media
Chances are managing your social media channels takes up a good chunk of your day. They’re vital to any successful large-scale event – particularly when it comes to party marketing – but equally, they demand a lot of (precious!) attention. Juggling multiple platforms well is a skill that some struggle to master. Fortunately, there are several software tools (such as HootSuite and Meltwater) that streamline your feeds, allowing you to schedule, track, and view content across multiple platforms, all on a single dashboard.
Pay attention to your workspace
COVID-19 has impacted the events industry in a big way. Even as we return to in-person parties, you may well have made the permanent transition to working from home (if you didn’t already). Planning a party is a multifaceted process requiring sustained concentration; being mindful of where you work is key to getting the most out of your day. The little things make all the difference: facing away from the room – towards a wall or window – to help minimise distractions, choosing a place with good ventilation and natural light, and trying to keep away from “non-work” areas (such as the bed, sofa, or kitchen table). Easily overlooked, these small adjustments can improve productivity just as effectively as any app or journal.
Look into venue packages
Picking out a venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll face when it comes to planning a party, and you can absolutely make it work to your advantage. Many venues offer more than just a space to hire. Keep an eye out for party packages, particularly if you’re on a time crunch or strict budget: these bundles can prove a cheaper – and simpler – alternative to finding, budgeting for, and co-ordinating separate suppliers. For example, here at the HAC, our 2021 Christmas Party Package includes exclusive access to our Long and Prince Consort Rooms, unlimited drinks until 11.30 pm, festive menu, disco, DJ, and stylised photo booth (all wrapped up in a lavish Alpine theme – Après Ski, anyone?). It’s worth bearing in mind when researching your next party venue.
Post-party reflection: document for the future
The party’s over; the last tab has been closed and the final picture posted. However, before you check the event off for good, consider writing down a brief overview, detailing what went well, what didn’t, and what you’d change. Steer clear of self-criticism – focus instead on creating a citable framework to refer to when organising future parties. Post-event reflection is a simple addition to the planning lifecycle that will ultimately serve you moving forwards, allowing you to learn from previous mistakes – and build on your triumphs – to improve long-term performance.
Parties at the HAC
If you’re looking for a party-perfect venue, the HAC offers several beautiful and versatile spaces to choose from. Our indoor rooms boast an impressive capacity range – from an intimate 20 through to 800 guest events – whilst our terrace and Artillery Garden provide the ideal outdoor setting for summer celebrations. To find out more about Parties at the HAC, or to enquire into our Summer and Christmas Party Packages, our dedicated Events team would be happy to help. Get in touch on 020 7382 1533, or visit us here.