Conference Planning Wrap Up

Jun 3, 2011

By April Welch, The Mental Clutter Coach

Packed bag Today’s post originally appeared on the VolunteerSpot blog on May 19, 2011.

This is the third post in our series about Conference and Travel Tips. First we covered preparing and packing for your conference , then how to avoid burnout during coference travel. Welcome home!

Now that your conference and travel adventures are done, you’re left looking around at “life as usual” {plus likely a full suticase of dirty clotees and a logo-emblazoned tote bag filled with swag and trinkets!}

Wondering ‘what should I do first?’, is as common as eating breakfast. You know there are things you left in progress {like the project that is due at the end of the month}, you know there are things you should have accomplished before you left {like getting the volunteer list to the event coordinator, oops} and now there are things you feel inspired to bring into the mix {like connecting with a colleague across the country that is running a program similar to one that you’re launching next month}.

Not to worry, I have veteran tips for these things too!

Gentle Re-entry

  • You will be met with “catching up”.
  • You will be met with some version of chaos.
  • You will be met with other people’s deadlines.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I challenge you to consider what your first day back would look like if you gave yourself a ‘buffer’ day? If you’re due to arrive home on a Sunday, don’t open your public door until Tuesday. Allow yourself to get some laundry done, hang out with your family and/or pets, go through your (e)mail. Most importantly, get some much needed sleep or rest by staying off the radar. Consider it a mental health day. I promise, it’s alright.

We’ve built our expectations into a “must be available” lifestyle. When you’ve communicated your absence for a conference and travel time, it makes sense to allow for a little breathing room before jumping back into it all.

Follow up

If you’ve followed the tips in Conference Packing, Planning and other Preparation Tips you are faced with a stack of notes, business cards with notes, and a sense of overwhelm.

Not to worry.

Practice the post conference and travel follow up technique:

  • find a clear surface {kitchen tables or beds work great for this}
  • dump out all your business cards and notes in one corner
  • place each of the items in piles/categories according to a task
    • start with what you know:
      • this business card is someone I want to add to my resources list
      • these notes had great ideas about how I’m going to …
      • this business card is someone I need to email information to
  • determine what tasks are ahead of you and schedule the following days with a time to accomplish each of them

Followup tends to be an easily avoidable task after a conference and travel. Fatigue and other responsibilities quickly resume their place while new, conference-inspired ideas or connections fall to the back burner. By setting aside dedicated time to integrate your new learnings with your previous agenda, you’ll look like an effecient pro in no time!


Inspiration is born from gathering a group of people in an environment that allows them to mingle, share and build-off each other’s ideas. Harnessing this inspiration and channeling it productively is also known as momentum.

For years, after returning from conference and travel adventures, I’ve felt a sense of hope when I arrive on my doorstep only to realize a few days later that life has returned to normal and my new-found momentum is becoming a distant memory.

So, how do I mantain and fuel momentum?


During that ‘extra’ day post conference and travel, I spend some quiet time in reflection and ask:

  • what was my biggest takeaway?
  • what was the most surprising thing I learned / experienced?
  • who stands out most from the experience?
  • what have I been inspired to do?
  • how will this new information effect me moving forward?

Once I’ve answered these questions for myself, I determine “what’s next”? And from there, I insert actionalble tasks into my schedule, life and expectations moving forward.


I’ve loved sharing my insights about conference and travel tips you can try this year; please let me know if you have additional tips or if you’ve tried any of the suggestions and found an improvement for yourself! I can’t wait to hear your input over on the VolunteerSpot facebook page this week!

Keepin it Tidy,



April is a Mental Clutter Expert | Mom of 2 boys | Lover of Tutus | Wife to 1 Fireman | Horrible Cook | Loyal Friend | National Public Speaker who gives you permission to be imperfect.

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