Enjoy the Buzz Without the Burn(out)

Enjoy The Buzz Without The Burn(out)

7 min read
Why event managers are at risk of burnout.
Event planning is an exciting and fast-paced career. It’s such a buzz seeing the fruits of your creative thinking, attention to detail and hard work come together for another fabulous production.

On the flipside, too much of the buzz that keeps you going can lead to burnout.

Keep an eye on stress to avoid event management burnout

Event managers are at risk of burnout - here's why. Share on X

1. Fact: Event Planning is Stressful

Aside from the buzz, experienced event managers often tell us their biggest challenge is always ‘outdoing themselves’ to make each event better than their last. This makes for a lot of pressure, along with the deadline-driven, detail-heavy nature of events.

Global research confirms the high stress factor, with Career Cast’s Top 10 Most Stressful Careers 2019 listing Event Planner as the sixth most stressful job, right up there with the most adrenaline-charged jobs imaginable:

  1. Enlisted Military Personnel
  2. Firefighter
  3. Airline Pilot
  4. Police Officer
  5. Broadcaster
  6. Event Planner
  7. News Reporter
  8. Public Relations Executive
  9. Senior Corporate Executive
  10. Taxi Driver

Even if you feel like you’re the only one stressing out, and other event planners seem to cruise through with not a single hair out of place, the pressure in event management is real. If left unchecked, too much of this stress can strike even the most experienced event professionals.

The pressure in event management is real. If left unchecked, it can lead to disastrous outcomes. Share on X

2. Stress is Good… Until It’s Not


A bit of stress is good. In fact, we need it for survival – back in the wild as caveman and woman vs the big scary tiger, and nowadays to keep us on our toes and performing in the workplace.

Stress causes the body to release the hormone adrenaline, which helps us react quickly in a stressful or dangerous situation. The adrenaline sets off a chain reaction – known as the ‘fight or flight response’ – of higher blood pressure and increased blood sugars to make you more alert, more energetic and more immune to pain.

Adrenaline keeps event planners focused on details, deadlines and any dilemmas along the way.

All good, as long as you dedicate enough time to switch off from work and have balance with good nutrition, exercise and recreation time with friends and family. The problem is that switching off from work is easier said than done.


The excitement and buzz of events can be highly addictive. Long hours, late nights and constant stress eat into your down time, and balance goes out the window.

That’s when burnout – the result of high stress over long periods of time – comes knocking at your door…

The excitement and buzz of events can be highly addictive - but watch for signs of burnout. Share on X

3. Burnout

Burnout is a serious occupational health problem. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently relabelled burnout as an occupational phenomenon because it is a “work-based syndrome caused by chronic stress” with three main dimensions:

  • Feeling of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feeling negative or cynical towards your job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

Red Hot Tip

Are you experiencing these symptoms? You may want to try this self-test from the Black Dog Institute.

The Black Dog Institute, an Australian-based global leader in mental health research, is ramping up its research into the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of burnout, because it can have serious health consequences for work performance, life satisfaction and has strong links with depression.

Burnout has strong links with depression. Take care of your mental wellbeing. Share on X

4. The Risk of Burnout for Event Managers is REAL

The fast-paced nature of event management creates a number of stressors that can all contribute to high levels of stress over prolonged periods, and may ultimately lead to burnout.

1. Deadlines
Event management is very much deadline driven. Once your date is locked in, lead times are set in stone and stuff simply needs to happen.

Hiccups will happen, but those deadlines won’t wait. There’s no space for tiredness, forgetfulness or chilling out. It’s 100% go-go-go.

2. Details
The devil’s in the details! Venues, menus, guest lists, dietary requirements, AV, theming, entertainment, choosing the right speaker… the list goes on.

When the details matter so much, the fear of forgetting something is real.

Red Hot Tip

Our event planning tool makes detail and deadline management so much easier!

3. High Profile
Events are highly visible. A successful event is exhilarating, but the flipside – a flop – could be devastating. An event manager’s worst nightmare.

Pressure, pressure, pressure…

4. Hello, Murphy’s Law
A flop of an event is usually avoidable, but not without stress along the way. Small boo-boos will happen, because we’re human, and that damned Murphy’s Law that says ‘anything than can go wrong, will go wrong.’

Small oversights can become big issues that derail an otherwise fabulous event. Another item to add to the stress checklist.

Red Hot Tip

Find out how to minimise the risk of small boo-boos and keep Murphy far from your events.

5. Unmanageable to-do list
While many events professionals eat and breathe events, there are many Executive Assistants who produce events on top of an already overflowing workload.

Time management can be tough, and often people feel reluctant to speak up about being overloaded, leading to worry and, you guessed it, anxiety.

6. Long hours + late nights
The long hours and late nights of running multiple events can cut into your downtime and start affecting sleep.

Sleep deprivation only makes matters worse when it comes to stress.

7. Life gets in the way
There are so many things that can be going on in our personal lives: being a busy parent, enduring a relationship breakdown or caring for an elderly relative can cause already high stress levels before you even get to work!

8. Personality type
Perfectionist personalities – hello event managers! – may be more prone to stress because of the impossibly high standards they set for themselves.

Adding together Event Management Stress Factors 1 to 9, and leaving them to bubble away over the years, and you end up with a perfect recipe for chronic stress and burnout.

The risk of burnout for Event Managers is REAL Share on X

5. Keep an Eye on Stress

Event management is an exciting, rewarding career, with so many possibilities for career advancement.

Roles are highly sought after, with a huge choice of event management courses for people wanting to enter the industry or broaden their skills.

To stay performing at your peak and loving your career, it’s really important to keep an eye on stress levels and make sure you have a healthy life balance.

Constant stress over time is bad for our health. It can lead to burnout, which has serious impacts for emotional, physical and mental health and can even become a career limiter.

Next steps

About the Author

Jo Tilgals

From managing a Tokyo restaurant to establishing a catering business, the customer has always been at the heart of Josephine’s career. Jo’s high-level communication skills, broad experience and caring manner are the perfect match for your event projects. She handles all details of contracts, invoicing and briefing, freeing up your valuable time and assuring your event will be a huge success.

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