Monday, November 5, 2012

Pro-tip: Making the Most of Conferences

Totally what my desk looks like post-conference. Source
You know that thing where you go to a conference or workshop and have an amazing time? You get all fired up with awesome new ideas, avenues to explore, and procedures to implement. You take frantic notes, collect handouts, and network like a champ. You've got everything in your conference folder and head back to work ready to take on the world.

Then you get to work and all the happy conference thoughts fly out of your head due to about 10,000 emails in your inbox, notes from coworkers, damaged items, messages to return etc.

Your regular job momentum kicks in, and your conference folder full of hopes and dreams gets set aside, never to be opened again until your CE forms are due at the end of the year.*

The best thing I've done to combat this phenomenon is to literally schedule time to organize myself post-conference. Once you head back to work it's so easy to get sucked into the daily routine, but taking the time to prioritize conference follow-up makes a big difference.

Before leaving the conference, or ongoing during the conference, I like to sit down and make a list of:

1. Follow up list--People to contact post-conference, and why
2. Inspiration list--ideas I want to explore, further reading, professional development goals etc.
3. Implementation list--things I can bring back to my library right away, or things I want to share with my boss. 

Once I'm home or back to work, I enter these things into my calendar/to-do list just like I would for any other task. I decide what things need to be taken care of right away, and what things I want to come back to at another time and just plug them into my calendar. This works well for me because instead of a whole folder to deal with, I have a series of small manageable tasks that can easily be accomplished over time. Task management...revolutionary, I know.

If I don't make sure to prioritize and schedule post-conference tasks, it ends up just being a distraction from my regular job, and a fun waste of time. I owe it to my employers to maximize what I get out of conference attendance, because even if they aren't paying for the conference, they're allowing me to attend on work time.  

*for example. I think this has happened to a friend.

1 comment:

  1. So I am thinking of doing a social media roundup of WLA 2012, but it's basically just going to be a topsy link to the archived Twitter conversation and links to your blog.


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