Tag: energy

9 Ways For A More Sustainable Event

9 Ways For A More Sustainable Event

There are many reasons why running an event using sustainable event principles is good for business.

Many of our clients choose to have their event produced, managed and implemented through sustainable event principles because it reinforces the key messages of their event, and/or demonstrates their vision and commitment to sustainability. Other clients are happy to have their event produced through sustainable event principles because it helps them save resources and this reflects well on their business!

Below are 9 simple ways to create a more sustainable event while keeping your guests happy. While it is important to take a whole event approach – it may not be possible to do everything.  You could start with a single initiative and work from there.



Give guests plenty of opportunity to get outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight by requesting rooms with opening windows for ventilation and natural lighting. This will help guests breathe easier and see better. If your venue has an outdoor area make the most of it by holding breaks outside.


Provide guests with public transport options such as train timetabling, bus route and bicycle parking facilities. Where public transport is not accessible, arrange shuttle buses to and from the event or promote car sharing.


Appoint a staff member to take responsibility for eliminating unnecessary lighting, power and equipment use. Switch equipment off at the power point after use.


Prioritise venues that demonstrate a commitment to water conservation by installing water saving devices.


Do not provide disposable material such as disposable cutlery, plates, containers or cups.

Instead, provide reusable crockery, serving platters, glasses and cutlery. Depending on the formality of the event, invite attendees to bring their own cups or water bottles.


Ensure that recycling and compost bins are accessible and clearly sign-posted. Ensure guests and vendors limit disposable waste and give preference to recycled and recyclable packaging.



Choose local, seasonal and organic produce or work with a caterer/venue who is committed to sustainable event practices..


Attempt to not provide show bags or copious amounts of printed material. Always question if the printing of brochures and pamphlets is necessary. When printing is necessary use vegetable based inks and post-consumer recycled content paper. Furthermore, consider whether your engagement activities can be done online as this will reduce the need for printed event materials, contributing further to a green event management approach.


Inform your guests and attendees of your commitment to sustainability in your written and verbal communications. This might be as simple as including a page on your event website that outlines your sustainable event initiatives, or informing guests verbally on the day of your event. Another good idea is to clearly label food and beverage that is organic, local or fair-trade.


Do you have other sustainable event ideas to contribute? Write a comment below!

7 Tips for better sleep on the road

7 Tips for better sleep on the road

If there’s one thing planners need, it’s a good night’s sleep. But it’s not always easy to do when there are hundreds of event details swirling through your brain at 2 a.m.

Head out on the road, add an unfamiliar bed, a few time zone changes and an over-stuffed schedule, and sleep can become even more elusive. So what’s the solution?

Plan to sleep, as in, put the pieces in place, prep your mind and body and set the stage for sleep success, no matter where in the world you lay your head. Here’s how:


1. Pick your room wisely

Ask for a room that’s a long way from typical hotel noise-makers like guest elevators, room service/housekeeping elevators, ice machines, vending machines or laundry areas. Also steer clear of guestrooms near function rooms, lobby bars or outdoor pools, particularly in ‘party towns’ like Miami, New Orleans, Vegas, etc., where events can be loud, long and impossible to sleep through. In bustling cities, rooms on higher floors will put a bit more distance between you and the din of nearby highways and early morning garbage truck pickups.

2. Embrace the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign – and the security latch

Whether you’re dealing with jet-lag or just need a 20-minute nap, you’ll sleep a lot better if you embrace the power of the Do Not Disturb sign – it’s your first line of defense against the well-intentioned but sleep-disruptive knocks from hotel staff. The second line of defense: flipping the door lock and security latch to prevent intrusions.

3. Wear your sunglasses…at night?

Though it may sound a bit strange, and look a bit odd to the room service guy, wearing ‘blue blockers’ or a pair of sunglasses with amber lenses at night can help you fall asleep more easily, particularly if you go to bed clutching a smartphone or tablet. Why? Because screens blast blue light into your eyes, which the brain interprets as daylight. All that light suppresses the release of our fall-asleep chemicals and triggers the release of daytime-alertness-chemicals, right at the time when we’re trying to drift off.

Don’t have amber shades? Then improvise with your usual sunglasses to reduce the ‘screen-shine’ and always remember to dim screen(s) to the max to prevent those middle of the night texts from lighting up your room and waking your brain.


4. Put the brakes on your brain

You’ll sleep better if you put the brakes on the brainwave activity that can keep you over-revved at night. Start by shutting down the laptop, TV and smartphone at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Next, strap on the headphones and tune into a sleep-inducing play list  or guided meditation to help you drift off.

You can also try Brainwave Power Music  which utilizes ‘binaural beats,’ a therapeutic collection of meditative sound patterns designed to help encourage deep, restful sleep.

5. Wind down your body

The simplest way to prep your body for sleep is with a hot bath. Some tub time will help open the blood vessels and relax muscles, making sleep come more easily. To boost the sleep-promoting effects, some lavender essential oil added to the bath or spritzed around the room can help cut anxiety and insomnia according to a recent British study from the University of Southampton.

6. Deprive your senses

When you’re sleepless in Seattle or wide-awake in Wellington, black-out curtains, earplugs and eyeshades are essential to getting a good night’s rest. Forget to pack the plugs and shades? Then improvise. Try sleeping with a hand towel or spare t-shirt across your eyes to block out light and put bed pillows over your ears to tamp down extraneous noise.

Also—never sleep with the TV on. The constantly flickering light, subtle as it may seem when your eyes are closed, will trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, making falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult.

7. Ring them bells

When you have an early event to manage or a pre-dawn flight to catch, concerns about sleeping through the alarm can keep you awake and undermine the quality of your sleep once you do finally drift off. Instead of tossing and turning, my strategy is to make it virtually impossible to oversleep – thus the multiple alarm technique, no ‘snooze’ button necessary:
·      Start by setting the alarm on your iPhone and your iPad, placing both well out of arm’s reach.
·      Add to that a wake up call, plus a follow-up call.
·      Top it off with a scheduled-the-night-before room service breakfast delivery, and you’ll be ready for action.
·      Need a bit more backup? Then re-purpose your old, decommissioned Blackberry and use it as an alarm clock. It’s loud, can go for days without charging and never fails.

10 Healthy ways to avoid the afternoon slump

10 Healthy ways to avoid the afternoon slump

As inconvenient as that predictable postprandial plunge between 2 and 4 p.m. can be, scientists tell us it’s actually a biological imperative, a mini version of the drowsiness we feel just before bedtime when our core body temperature drops, signaling the brain to release that heavenly chemical dream weaver, melatonin.

Some cultures embrace the slump with a midday siesta; ours not so much. In fact, we westerners tend to make matters worse by giving nary a nod to breakfast, then overcompensating with a carb-crazy lunch and sugary chaser, the perfect prelude to a mid-afternoon plunge. What’s more, once the yawns hit, a caramel latte or candy bar on the run will only provide temporary relief, if not make matters worse.

Here are 10 healthy habits that will help stave off an afternoon siesta:


Declare a time out

Five minutes of alone time to sit, practice deep breathing and clear your mind will put you on a better mental footing to face the rest of the day.

Go for a walk

There’s nothing like a little fresh air, exercise and change of scenery to recharge your metabolism for the work ahead. If the weather outside if frightful, walk briskly down a covered breezeway or up and down a flight or two of stairs to get your blood moving.

Have a drink (No, not that kind of drink!)

A tall glass of ice water does wonders to stave off sleep and rally your metabolism. But avoid alcohol; the sugar content leads to plunge city.

Wrangle your incoming

Counter an approaching plunge by shifting your focus to the texts, voice mails and emails that have amassed while you were busy. It’s a great way to divert a downward spiral and be productive at the same time.


Have a snack (No, not that kind of snack!)

Boost your metabolism with an energy-rich snack. Fresh fruit, trail mix with nuts, or whole-wheat crackers with string cheese are good choices if available. If your only option is vending machine fare, peanut butter and crackers provide a welcome carb-protein pick-me-up. But avoid candy; it lets you down fast.

Plug into your playlist

Spending a few minutes listening to upbeat, engaging music can pick up the beat when it starts to lag. Personally, I’d steer more toward Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Movin’” than, say, Adele’s “Hello.”

Plan tomorrow

Getting a jump on coordinating the appointments and tasks you’ll face tomorrow can interject a welcome wider perspective into your day and clear your mind for a relaxing evening.

Take a reading break

Words have a way of reviving and relaxing us when the minutiae of the day starts to take its toll. Keep a book of inspiring quotes, jokes or meaningful reflections handy or bookmark the same online and use these to revive and reset your mood as needed.


Open the curtains

Feeling drowsy? Part the curtains and welcome in as much sunlight as possible. A 2006 scientific study found that 20 minutes of exposure to bright light increased alertness and boosted brain response. The reason? That old dream weaver Melatonin can’t be produced in bright light.

Catnap if you can

If time and circumstances permit, a 20-minute nap (but no more) can do wonders for your energy level. Scientists caution, however, that catnaps are not a good option if you suffer from insomnia, as they may make nighttime sleeplessness worse.

How having more energy at work

How having more energy at work

When working with employees and first time leaders around the world, over half (56%) of them spend time on activity that takes lots of effort for very little result. In short, they’re wasting their time. Yet, just a few small adjustments to the way they work can make a big difference to their productivity.




Despite what many believe, multi-tasking is not a great way to manage time efficiently nor to get things done: each time someone switches from one activity to another, people suffer from something similar to writer’s block and then need to take time to ‘reset’ their minds between tasks.

The more complex the tasks the more time it takes to re-organize the mind but even brief distractions add up.


Rather than multi-tasking, employees should estimate how long it will take to accomplish an activity and only focus on those things that generate a good return on investment. They should be allowed to block dedicated periods of time in their calendar and discipline themselves to focus on the task at hand during those periods.


Lack of clarity

Business man discussing a point during meeting

A lot of work gets done without the benefit of clearly defined goals and objectives but without clarity it is difficult to know whether the right work is getting done and priorities then start to clash.

Sense of meaninglessness



It’s also important for employees to set personal goals which will energize and engage but as we become busier it is easy for meaningful goals to be displaced by urgent things.  The longer this goes on, the more stressed a person becomes.


Create a flexible weekly schedule in terms of work and home-life categories of activities  job, chores, exercise, family, unstructured relaxation, and so on.




People over-commit for a variety of reasons: they don’t want to disappoint others; they feel they have no choice; they have an unrealistic idea of current commitments or of what is involved in the new commitment.

But those that over-commit can quickly become burnt-out and exhausted.


It’s important to create a workplace culture where it’s acceptable to say ‘no’ at times; that it doesn’t show unwillingness but rather a sign that you are responsible and take your commitments seriously.

Before saying yes, employees should let the person know that they will check their other priorities and time-frames. Before agreeing, they should have a realistic and detailed idea of what the commitment entails and if they can’t do it, then give a reason for declining.




We are constantly bombarded by distractions and interruptions in the workplace.

Think of these events as forcing the mind into a multi-task mode, with each event either preventing or breaking concentration and time lost to constant task switching.


To overcome distractions, employers should provide quiet places of work or flexibility to work from home for when employees are working on projects that require concentration. Employees should set aside time periods for specific activities, and discourage interruptions. Email and voicemail checking should be saved for the time between other tasks.


Lack of organization



For some people, organization means files, drawers, cubbies, neat stacks (or no stacks at all), and a complete lack of clutter. For others, it simply means knowing where to look and being able to find what you need right away.

The point of organization is not to fit someone else’s definition of ‘organized’, but for employees to have what they need in an easily accessible place.

They should be encouraged to organize themselves in a way that makes sense to them, to cull information and emails regularly and to recognize that being disorganized is a drain on their time and energy.


Lack of reflection time


Failing to reflect is a vicious circle as it can lead to people becoming stressed and overworked which then means even less time for thinking. This stifles creativity and innovation but also a lack of downtime means many aren’t considering their activities and whether they’re key for meeting their goals and objectives.


Employees should set aside specific time each month or week to reflect on their work, themselves and their long-term goals, and be partnered with a coach or mentor for support (this could be a manager, colleague, or friend outside work).




Perfection is an indefinable and unobtainable goal that increases workload significantly for very little value. Employers and managers should establish objective quality measures by defining what is ‘good enough’.

But if in doubt, before ‘making it better’, they should ask themselves whether a person, whom they respect, would notice a meaningful qualitative difference if more time and effort was invested.


We can’t of course all work like robots, ensuring that every minute of the working day is used efficiently and productively. There will of course be days where people lack energy and enthusiasm either due to personal issues, ill health or just general ‘off’ days. But with the right motivational leadership in place and a few simple steps to help teams to use time effectively, then output versus activity should be evenly balanced.