How to Plan a Realistic Event Timeline

Last Updated on June 1, 2022

While planning an event can be stressful, most agree that this can be exciting at the same time. After all, there is nothing better than watching your plan come together. As you get started, you need to plan a realistic event timeline. The key word here is realistic.

In this article we’re going to offer some advice on how to plan out your event timeline.

The following five tips will put your event timeline on the right track:

1. Start as far in advance as possible

The sooner you have a timeline in place the better off you are going to be. Wasting even one day could put you behind the eight ball as you move forward. As soon as you realize there is an event to be planned, jump in headfirst by creating a timeline.

2. Set goals

Set goals that you are comfortable achieving, knowing they will “add up” to the desired end result. Some people make the mistake of setting one goal: planning the event in the allotted period of time. This may be your primary goal, but you have to strive for smaller milestones along the way.

3. Determine timelines for the individual items

Get a better idea of how much time each step will take to complete. How long will it take you to find a venue? How long will it take to create a marketing strategy? You may only be able to estimate the time each step will take, and there is nothing wrong with that. You just need to make sure you are staying organized.

At a minimum you’ll want to create a spreadsheet that includes columns for the task description, the earliest start date, total time you think it’ll take, and required date to be completed.

Most events are planned using what’s called a Waterfall Methodology. Essentially, it layers items based on if they can be worked concurrently and if they affect other tasks that need to be done.

Tip: it is better to give yourself more time to complete a task than less, as long as it will not have a negative impact on your timeline as a whole.

4. Get the advice of others

If you are the only one planning an event timeline you could make the following mistakes (among others):

  • Overlooking something that is critical to your success
  • Underestimating how long it will take to complete particular tasks
  • Not staying on track, thus finding yourself way behind at the end

Even if you only bring one additional person into the fold, this can go a long way in improving your chance of staying on track.

5. Never allow yourself to miss a deadline

You set deadlines for a reason. No matter what it takes, you need to adhere to these. One missed deadline could turn into two, and so on. You know your deadlines and you know your goals. Don’t let anything throw you off track.

Now, go ahead and get started on planning your event timeline

With the five tips above, you should now have the knowledge necessary to set a realistic event planning timeline. It is easy enough to say that you are going to plan a great event, but unless you have a timeline you will likely make mistakes along the way.

And keep in mind while planning this out, if you set goals you can never achieve, you are only going to add more stress to your situation. Don’t let others dictate the timeline to the point that items become unable to achieve.

When you are realistic with your timeline you will be comfortable with the road you are on. By the time you reach the end of the process, you will look back and realize that you took all the right steps.