I will speak often about what I call the Critical Path. Essentially, a critical path is your event on paper. It is where you list all aspects of your event and the dates in which these elements need to be completed for seamless execution of your event. I believe that every event, no matter how small, needs a critical path. Now, if you are having a birthday party for your five-year-old, you probably have more pressing and important things to do than sit down and brainstorm all the elements that you will need to pull off this fantastic party for your kid. Nevertheless, you likely will be doing a critical path without even realizing it. You probably will have a to-do list with various items like balloons, goody bags, cake order, invitations etc. listed and you’ll either have a check mark when completed or designate a certain person to get that task done. This is a critical path, just a scaled down version of one that works for your event.
I view a critical path as the organizer of the event. It’s the place where all the elements are contained and to which you can always reference if you feel a little off-track or need to check in where you are at. It allows you to brainstorm beforehand what you think you may need to get or you may need to incorporate for your particular event. You can think more clearly when you are listing items before you get into the throes of your event and stress mounts and you feel like you’re going crazy. The critical path is your calming friend. And such satisfaction is had when you begin to cross off items on this master list. The accomplishment of doing yet another task feels great!!
There is alot of software out there that can help you with your critical path. Every computer has a built in calendar and you can start listing items here and dates that they need to be done. Some computers, like my Mac, have templates in Pages, that are specific for events and this can also be a great place to start to help you organize your thoughts, ideas and items (PC’s likely have this too in Powerpoint or Word). There are event apps available for your iphone or ipad that can really help you keep on track and organize your elements. I’m somewhat of an oldfashioned girl and I still do my critical paths the archaic way; I type them out, longhand using either Excel or Numbers (depending on your computer). I like being able to change things quickly and easily and, for my eye, the simple setup is easy for me to follow. I list things by category, however, you may wish to combine all your items in one date specific list. That way when you are searching you search not in individual categories but based on when something should be completed. Either works, it just depends on what works for you.
This all may seem overdone, or overwhelming, but it really isn’t. Next to the theme, the critical path is the most important element of your event (in my opinion that is). Taking a little time beforehand can really save you anxiety, stress, or anger! in the long run.
If you have specific questions, or need help with your own critical path, remember I am always here to help. Just visit send me an email and let’s get started!