I spend much of my life outside of LiquidPlanner in and around bodies of water. I’m a passionate open water swimmer—marathon swimming, in particular—and a big part of that passion is giving back to the sport. Some swimmers help out at races in various capacities, some crew for other swimmers, but I volunteer my time as a race director.
Directing an open water swim race is much like being a wedding coordinator, an event planner, or a circus director—it’s even like being a project manager! A heap of planning goes into getting a swim race off the ground successfully (no pun intended). There are permits to file, supplies to acquire, donations to solicit, volunteers to juggle, all on top of some specific, critical tasks with to-do lists that ensure the event is as safe as possible.
I have a confession to make: seven years ago, when I applied for my original position in customer support at LiquidPlanner, I didn’t actually know that project management software existed. Nor did I recognize that I was a project manager! I just thought I was a very organized person.
As I was prepping for my interview, I realized that not only did I want the job, but I suddenly craved the ability to use LiquidPlanner to keep track of everything required to plan my events. I was overjoyed with the discovery that I could possibly forego spreadsheets and giant three-ring notebooks. I was even more ecstatic to realize that I’d be able to use that same information as a template for the following year and hopefully make the job easier over time.
In my workspace, I set up the overall race as a package. The projects are the significant areas of focus for the race: swimmer registration, boats, volunteers, safety, donations, swag… (I could have done this as a project with subfolders, and it would have worked just as well.) Then, the tasks are just that, all the bits and pieces of work that need to get done within each area of focus. I keep loads of information in the Notes section of each task, which helps me tremendously from year to year: links to various websites, applications, important phone numbers, prices of items I need to buy, shopping lists, and more. My absolute favorite part of using LiquidPlanner is my ability to forward emails with quotes, invoices, pictures, insurance binders, permits, etc., into my workspace so that I don’t have to print everything out or have a filing system in my inbox or my computer directory.
I’ve been directing races for over 10 years now. Depending on the year and the size of the event I’m managing, I may invite volunteers into my workspace and teach them how to make comments and update their tasks, in lieu of sending me email updates between meetings. For smaller events, where I’m doing most of the work myself, using LiquidPlanner is key in keeping me organized and thinking about what needs to happen next. My workspace also functions as a giant agenda during calls and meetings.
When it comes to race day, I always put a task at the very top of my LiquidPlanner inbox with emergency contact numbers and the most important day-of-race information on it. Then, when I’m out on the water observing the event, I can quickly go to My Tasks on the iPhone app and see that information as the first task.
Everything in one place. No scrolling thru contacts or juggling a paper notebook while out in the elements to find what I need in a hurry.
Simply being able to lay out each and every little thing that needs to get done over the course of several months, in a spare minute here and there, has saved me numerous heartaches and sleepless nights, which in turn has produced a number of successful and safe events.