Sunday, June 16, 2013

Silver Linings: Flowing through Conference Travel

Conference travel can be exhausting, and I for one always notice how tired I am after a conference because suddenly I need an alarm clock to wake up.

After preparing months for a conference, you shouldn't just shoo away from the place of action because you feel that it becomes taxing and overwhelming. Instead, try to support yourself as much as possible through these extra-busy days, so that you can benefit from it as much as possible.

Instead of wearing yourself out by placing extra stress on your body, make a few conscious choices that make you go those few extra miles before your gas tank runs dry:

1. Go well-prepared

Don't arrive to a foreign airport in a frenzy, trying to remember your hotel name and trying to figure out how to reach the hotel. Avoid late nights in your hotel room to finish up your presentation. Instead, just make sure you have all prep-work out of the way so that you can focus your concentration and energy on learning and networking.

2. Prioritize

Make a realistic schedule - you can't be sitting in lecture sessions from 8 am to 10 pm, meet people AND visit the exhibition. Before the start of the conference, take a few moments to list your priorities: Who do you want to meet? Which company should you visit on the exhibition? Which sessions should you attend? When should you hang out in the hotel lobby and catch up with your acquaintances.

3. Make a few conscious food choices


If possible, try to select a few extra nutritious meals from the buffet. Replace a coffee by a green juice or smoothie. Try to stock up on nutrients in a healthy way before you load up your plate at the dessert buffet. And then indulge in your favorite foods - a conference is not the place to put yourself on a strict diet. Just make sure you get what you need before you start with coffee, alcohol and sugar.

4. Exercise


Bring your sports clothes, and exercise! After sitting an entire day, the best treat you can give yourself is exercise: running in the city you are visiting, trying out the hotel gym or pool or practicing a yoga sequence in your room - just try to make time for movement, at least 15 minutes every day.

5. Find some quiet time to read or relax


If you feel that fatigue and overwhelm are starting to creep up, then try to withdraw from the noise and business for half an hour to read, sit in the sun, take a nap or whatever feels right for you at that moment. Taking this one small action might be just what you need to keep going again, and might work better than a double espresso.

What do you do to avoid crashing down with exhaustion by the end of a conference? Please share your tips in the comments below!

3 comments:

  1. Great post! A few weeks ago I had to go to a conference, but hadn't been able to reach my monthly running goal before I left. Thus, I had to (yes, had to!) run before the day's program started. It was great! Not only did it feel awesome to work out before a long day of sitting, I also really enjoyed running in a city I didn't know and seeing everyone go to work / university. Loved it.

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  2. I feel the same way. I have no idea how my boss can manage to fit in so many conferences and NOT be exhausted. I feel like I have to take a day off after the conference to get back on track. But I love conference food, but they do tend to be really rich/indulgent (well besides the salads LOL). I totally need to use these tips on my next conference.

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  3. Thanks! In Tel Aviv I was running along the sea a few times - that was a glorious way to start a packed conference day!

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