Event Profs: It’s Time to Unplug

I’m a big fan of experiences, but I have to admit that sometimes I don’t enjoy them to the full extent. A lot of times my experiences are clouded by constant interruptions from notifications, pulling my attention away into my screen. Sometimes, I get pulled in so deep that the experiences don’t happen at all. Some nights I waste my time in front of my television WHILE scrolling through my phone at the same time (as if seven episodes of Gilmore Girls aren’t enough mental stimulation). My point is, we all have a hard time unplugging.

It’s amazing to see what happens when you unplug for a day. Allow me to paint a picture for you. It’s Saturday morning, I wake up to the sound of my alarm and head downstairs. Normally, I attempt to make some fancy breakfast food I found on Pinterest and my husband and I watch TV together while cleaning but not this Saturday. Today, I am going to unplug. I went 24 hours without looking at an electronic screen. Here’s what I learned:

Take Back Your Time

Typically, I feel like I never have enough time in the day. I feel like there are so many things I want to do, but my excuse is always “I have no time.” On my day of unplugging, I found out that I actually have a lot of time. My day of unplugging was full of moments where I would finish a task and say to myself “Well, now what?”. It was incredible. How much time do you spend aimlessly scrolling on your phone? The average American spends 10 hours a day in front of a screen—computers, video games, smartphones, tablets, etc. Imagine if you took all those hours, minutes, and seconds you spent looking at memes or binge watching Netflix and used them to learn a new skill or check out that local band you keep hearing about instead. Take back your time by getting rid of what I like to call your “filler phone.” “Filler phone” is used to take up the empty space in your life. It fills the empty space when we have nothing to do (or think there’s nothing to do). It fills the silence when we’re around people we don’t necessarily know. Fill your time with experiences and relationships instead of mindless screen time. There are so many events happening in our own communities and things to do.

Pics or It Didn’t Happen?

There’s an old saying that goes “If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I feel like I experienced a version of this on my day of unplugging. My husband and I went to a play that night with some of our friends. It was a fantastic play and a great night, but my phone never made its debut.

I didn’t get to take pictures of my food before I started eating. I didn’t take a picture of my husband and I standing in the same pose we always are in all our other pictures. I didn’t post anything with the hashtag #datenight.

So the question is, did it really happen? If my followers don’t see it, and I didn’t get to prove it to them, was it worth it? My answer is a resounding YES! The chicken alfredo I ate was STILL delicious even though I didn’t post a picture of it. It was even more delicious because it didn’t have time to get cold as I thought of some witty caption for my post. My husband and I still had a great night at the play. We were still just as happy spending time with our friends and probably even more so because our phones weren’t there to distract us from each other’s companies. The experience was greater.

Technology Crutch

Come to find out, I use technology for a lot of things in my life that I didn’t realize. Remember how I said I usually made some crazy Pinterest breakfast recipe on Saturday mornings? It’s hard to look up a Pinterest recipe when you aren’t allowed to use your phone, computer, or tablet. I was determined to keep the tradition alive, so I climbed on my counter to reach the top shelf and pulled out a cookbook my mom had given me a few years ago. After shaking off the dust of having never used a cookbook before, I searched for a breakfast recipe to make. Using the cookbook was really refreshing.

On Pinterest, if you look up “Breakfast ideas” you’ll find thousands of pins. Most mornings it would take me 5 to 10 minutes of searching through pins, trying to decide what to make. Information overload. Too many choices. When I looked through the cookbook, my options were somewhat limited, making the decision-making process much shorter and just as delicious.

When it came time to go to the play that night, we realized that we didn’t know how to get to the theater. I cheated a little and used my smartphone to call the theatre and ask for their address. Luckily, most of Utah is set up like a grid with north and south based streets, so we made it there, but I am not sure if it was the fastest way to get there. However, on the drive we got to see neighborhoods that we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to see.

At dinner, I was trying to tell our friends about a movie that had Rami Malek in it, but they were confused as they had never heard of the movie and didn’t know who that was. “Come on guys, the dude in Until Dawn!” Still puzzled looks. Normally, this is when I would pull out my phone and visit my ol’ pal IMDB, but not tonight. So instead, I just let it go and we switched topics. It made me really frustrated that I couldn’t validate myself and get them to know who I was talking about, but when I stepped back and looked at the situation, I couldn’t figure out why it mattered to me. It was just a movie. He was just an actor. I felt like the instant access to information that my phone supplies somehow made me more powerful and right. When I didn’t have the information at my fingertips, I felt almost as if my ego had been bruised because I couldn’t reassure myself (and everyone else) that I was right. It was disheartening to find out how much I used my cellphone as a crutch in just one day.

You’re Missing Out

There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to experience it. So many of us spend our days with our faces glued to our screens. We seldom leave the comfort of our living rooms except when we absolutely have to. When we’re out with friends, many of us still have a hard time putting our phones down.

On my day of unplugging, I saw what I was missing out on. Everything was really clear. I was able to focus all my attention on tasks I was trying to accomplish and the people who were physically with me. I was able to experience time with my S/O, my friends, and the play that I went to that night while feeling all the different emotions that came with those experiences. I feel like the times when I allow my screens to distract me, I don’t notice things. My mind is cloudy, and my attention is divided into a million pieces.

There’s something about a real life experience that fills you up and makes you feel whole. It fills the void for the human connection that I think we are all searching for and that’s not something you can get from scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed or binge watching your favorite show for hours on end. It’s not the same type of happiness. This day of unplugging showed me that we not only need to get out and do something but also that while we’re out there, we should be all there. Put down your phones and go do something!

Free Yourself!

The greatest thing I learned from unplugging is that there is a feeling of freedom that I don’t allow myself to experience. When I spend too much time in front of a screen, my mind is filled with unimportant junk and it makes me feel heavy. I know it sounds crazy, but on my day of unplugging I felt lighter. I felt like I was thinking more clearly and I was thinking about things that actually mattered. I felt creative and happy and overall… FREE. It felt good to not be chained to my phone. It felt good to not have to succumb to every notification that pinged me throughout the day. It felt good to not have all the answers for once and to risk getting lost in our own city. Physically I felt better as well. I typically get headaches with sharp pain behind my eyes. It worsens when I look at a screen too long. Once I get the headache, it doesn’t go away. When I unplugged from my screens I also unplugged from my headaches. They were totally absent that day and when I lay my head on my pillow that night I got a great night sleep. I didn’t lay in bed and scroll through my social media for an hour and a half. The whole day was liberating.

Our devices are so much a part of our lifestyles. In those 24 hours, I felt like I was going through withdrawal, but my day of unplugging was so enlightening that I encourage all of your to try it! You don’t have to go a whole day, but maybe just try a night where instead of scrolling through your social media, you go out to an event with friends. Try going to a concert where your goal is to enjoy the music rather than posting a rad video on your social media. Find out how freeing unplugging can really be. Experiences are greater!

5 Inspirational Quotes for Event Makers

We could all do with a little more motivation, and it can be found in many different places. Here are 5 quotes to resonate with event planners. Save, share and look back on this collection to reflect or serve as a reminder when you are lacking motivation. Every event organizing superstar needs a little inspiration from time to time.

 

Sure, there’s never enough time in a day. But use deadlines to your advantage by forcing creativity and getting things done.

 

Executing an event is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. If you feel overwhelmed, try taking a breather to clear your head.


 

When it comes to creating an event, something inevitably goes awry. When it does, the best thing to do is to persevere through the challenge and find a solution, rather than dwelling on how it happened in the first place.

 


 

As an event maker, you have opportunities to lead and inspire the people with whom you work. Make them count.

 

You can define event success in many different ways. But if someone finds value in taking the time to attend, then you have indeed succeeded.

6 Apps to Help Event Profs Clear Their Mind

Life as an event maker can be stressful, to put it lightly. With so many hats to wear and so many moving parts for your event, it can feel like you are up to your neck in tasks. The feeling can be overwhelming, and sometimes it becomes hard to focus on just one aspect of the event without getting distracted by another looming task.

With so many stressors, sometimes a quick break is all you need to get back on track. Taking a few minutes of time to clear your mind and reset can pay big dividends. We put together a list of six apps for event makers that will help you clear your mind, calm down, and focus on the task at hand.

1. Headspace
Headspace is your gym membership for the mind. Designed for those who don’t have time to take a break, Headspace offers 10 minute meditation courses that will clear your mind, revamp your focus, and make you more productive. Meditation helps you focus more, stress less, and live more. 10 minutes of meditation a day can help any event maker increase their productivity.

2. Stress Doctor
As it’s name suggests, Stress Doctor works on treating your stress and returning your body to calm within minutes. Stress Doctor focuses on using deep breathing techniques to return your mind and body to a state of calm, eliminating the stress that so frequently surrounds anyone planning an event. If you don’t have ten minutes for meditation, Stress Doctor deep breathing exercises only take five minutes to complete and the benefits can be greatly beneficial, including lowering stress, reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and strengthening your immune system.

3. Personal Zen
Based on 20 years of brain training and anxiety-reduction research, Personal Zen effectively boosts stress resilience and decreases anxiety when used only a few minutes a day, a few days a week. If meditation and deep breathing aren’t your thing, Personal Zen lowers stress by playing a simple game. It is an example of science turned into fun to improve your overall well being.

4. Pacifica
Pacifica gives users a holistic approach to address stress and anxiety. This app gives you tools to learn how to manage stress day-by-day. Pacifica doesn’t focus on quick fixes, but is designed to help you feel in control of yourself again. The app offers deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and positive visualizations set to relaxing soundscapes such as ocean waves and thunderstorms.

5. Breathe2Relax
If you are having an especially stressful day, Breathe2Relax helps users learn diaphragmatic breathing, which decreases the body’s ‘fight-or-flight response. This type of breathing helps with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. Breathe2Relax can be a stand-alone stress reduction tool, or it can be a part of your stress relieving routine. If you are feeling overwhelmed from the chaos that is event planning, Breathe2Relax can help you feel in control of the situation again.

6. Lumosity
Another app that uses games as tools, Lumosity helps improve cognitive skills including attention, memory, and problem solving skills. If you are easily distracted, Lumosity is an app that will help you improve your cognitive skills and train your mind to stay focused on one task. It doesn’t get much better than playing games to improve your attention span.

With these six apps to help you relieve stress and improve productivity, you will be able calmly manage your upcoming event. Remember, a ten minute break from your busy schedule can help you save time and accomplish more in the long run. Eliminate the stress and see how much better your day goes.

Experiences Are Greater Than Things

‘Money doesn’t buy happiness’ is an old cliche we have all heard repeatedly throughout our lives. While we all know this is true, we all still wish we had more money in our bank accounts than we do now.

While the old adage is correct that no amount of money can make us happy forever, the secret to being happy lies in how you spend your money. What types of things do you purchase – material goods or experiences? The secret to finding more happiness in your life, according to research by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, is to spend your money on experiences rather than physical goods. Dr. Gilovich has been studying the relationship between money and happiness for over two decades and has observed that once basic needs are met, money has a minimal impact on our happiness.

Dr. Gilovich insists that experiences will make you happier than any material good because as humans, we adapt to our new things. Think about the last gadget you bought or your newest pair of shoes. When you got them, you were thrilled to have another addition to your house or wardrobe. But after time, you become so used to having it, that you lost the thrill it provided you when you first purchased it – leading you to want to buy something new.

But how can an experience, something that only lasts for a brief period of time, provide so much happiness when it is so fleeting? Dr. Gilovich indicates that the reason experiences tend to have a positive impact on our happiness and why our memories grow more golden over time is because they are a part of who we are, they help build and shape our character.

Think back to the first concert you ever attended and the memories you have from that experience. Now think about the first tv or computer you bought. Which gives you more happiness looking back on it? Sure the tv and computer were able to help you do a lot, but over time, their value diminishes. They become old, out of date, and replaceable. But your first concert is a memory you will never forget -even if the band was forgettable- because it is a part of who you are. Your tv and computer, no matter how frequently you use them, are not a part of you. They don’t shape your personality or define who you are as an individual.

One study by Gilovich even showed that if people have an experience they say negatively impacted their happiness, once they have the chance to talk about it, their assessment of that experience goes up.

We are the sum total of our experiences. Because of this, as event makers, we help shape and create experiences that will define people and impact them for the rest of their lives. We don’t just provide entertainment, but we help create happiness in others lives. Our events, no matter their size, provide a way for people to get out and build memories, have personal experiences, and spend time doing something that will better their lives.

“We consume experiences directly with other people,” says Gilovich. “And after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.” Our events and everything that goes into them, provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for attendees – experiences that will live far beyond when our events end.

It’s both amazing and humbling that we get to be apart of people’s lives in some small way. As event makers, we get to connect with people and provide an atmosphere where lifelong memories can be made. Experiences are definitely better than things.

6 Event Profs You Should Follow in 2016

When it comes to learning from event experts, we believe in following the event profs who will simplify your lives by giving you best practices, tips, advice, and tell you about technology that can take your event to the next level. But the old adage that ‘more is always better’ isn’t necessarily true when it comes to the number of event experts you follow on social media. If you follow every event prof, you’ll end up getting bombarded with so much information that it is impossible to keep up!

Let’s be honest: your time is valuable, and you only have a few minutes each day to dedicate to learning about best practices and updates in the event industry. That’s why we decided to make a compressed list of the 6 best event profs to follow in 2016 so that you can quickly sort through the articles that are relevant to you. Now that’s a way to save time!

Julius Solaris @tojulius – Julius Solaris is the editor of Event Manager Blog. If you haven’t been to his site yet, stop whatever you’re doing, and go check it out right now. It’s that good. Based in the U.K., Solaris shares his knowledge with event professionals worldwide on topics such as event planning, social media and events, event technology, and event trends. While he focuses mostly on professional B2B meetings, he dishes out info on social media trends and the best tech that are applicable for any event.

Liz King @lizkingevents –  Liz King is an event planning superhero by day, and a closeted tech geek and introvert by night. She runs her own blog, Techsy Talk, that was built by event planners for event planners. Liz stays up to date on her best tips and practices for event planning, and tweets them out regularly while constantly updating her website with the best content. Some of her features include, “Behind the Hustle, Event Tech of the Week, and Event Planning”. Liz is the event planning guru.

David Adler @davidadler – David Adler is the CEO of event news giant, BizBash which covers event planning, production, and event trends in marketing, design, and style. If you want to hear what other events did to achieve success, this is the event prof to follow. You’ll find inspiration for your event by reading about great ideas that have worked for other events. With BizBash, there is no shortage of event news. Adler is always sending out resources for event makers whether you are a non-profit or a high profile event planner.

Kreg Peeler @kregpeeler – SpinGo’s founder and CEO, Kreg posts content that will help you make, market, and manage your event. Kreg makes a name for himself as an #eventprof by speaking to every type of event maker, no matter what your event may be. While many #eventprofs speak directly to B2B professionals who plan conferences, meetings, and trade shows, Kreg speaks to events of all shapes and sizes from music festivals and comedy shows to comic-cons and wine-tastings. For those whose events are outside the realm of professional meetings, Kreg is the event prof to follow.

Amanda Cey @ABCeyEvents – Amanda Cey is the founder of ABCey Events – which specializes in private and corporate event planning, production, and management. Amanda is always serving up tips and advice and keeping us up to date on the latest trends. You can bet you’ll get the best advice by following Amanda.

Dahlia ElGazzar @DahliaElGazzar – Dahlia ElGazzar runs the website The Meeting Pool, and is an #EventTech evangelist and speaker. Dahlia knows the best apps and tech to make your event more productive, efficient, and organized. When you follow Dahlia, you’ll learn the best ways to take your event planning mobile. By following Dahlia, you’ll be equipped to work on-the-go, not just behind a desktop.