Four days ago, I arrived home. I was full of ideas and inspiration, and I couldn’t wait to hug my kiddo (and husband).
Today, I feel dull and irritated, completely unmotivated and uninspired. And I actually put my darling daughter to bed half an hour early just to end the whining on Snow Day #2.
It’s official: I’m in a post-conference slump.
My house is a mess, I’ve yet to implement a single new idea I learned last week, and I have managed to consume an obscene number of cookies that were supposed to go to church on Monday. Before the snowstorm of the century closed the church, that is.
The funny thing is I actually started writing this post before leaving town last week. Because I suspect I’m not the only one who comes home from a conference, business trip or vacation feeling less than rested and refreshed.
Too bad I haven’t followed my own advice. Just in case I can help you, here are a few tips. Don’t be like me. Avoid the post-conference slump next time you go out of town.
Get your rest. This actually starts before you even leave home. Don’t stay up late packing. (Don’t be like me.) Avoid super early flights if you can. That way, when you don’t get your regular seven hours or so – because who really sleeps well when sharing a room with virtual strangers (or, in the case of a blogging conference, virtual friends) and partaking in late-night parties? I mean, networking events.
Also – get some rest after you get home, too. Take a nap. Go to bed early. Or both, if you’re really lucky.
Stay hydrated. Hotels – and some conferences – are so terribly dry! Drink as much and often as possible while you’re there – and I’m only talking about water. You’ll probably need to drink more water than normal after getting home, too.
Take good notes. You might think something is so clever or poignant or funny or helpful that you’ll never forget it. But you will. By the time you get home, your brain will be mush and you’ll need all the help you can get remembering all the incredible information you just received. So whether it’s on your laptop, a shiny new iPad or good, old-fashioned pen and paper, write it down.
Download on someone. As soon as you can, get the words out. You’ve been saving them up during the whole trip, right? Your observations, the surprises, the disappointments, your favorite parts, your new favorite person, your least favorite speaker? Tell someone. Now. Before you explode.
Write a review or summary or recap. Difficult though it may be (for some of us), put it on paper now. Whether it’s minutes for a business meeting or a blog post about a social media conference, get it wrapped up as soon as possible. You’ll feel better when you do. Believe me.
Follow-up with your new friends. You’ve got a stack of business cards sitting next to your suitcase, don’t you? (I’m kidding. I know you already unpacked and put away your suitcase, because you’re not like me.) Pull them up and get started shooting those new friends an e-mail. You’ll be more likely to remember all those new faces if you follow up now, and besides, who won’t like getting a message about how much you enjoyed meeting them?
Fill out the evaluation form. Whether your conference was amazing, awful or somewhere in between, take the time to fill out the evaluation form and share your insights with the people in charge. It’s one more way to organize your thoughts – and it’s constructive, too. Just be nice, okay? Even if you have some suggestions for improvement, remember how much work – and heart – likely went into planning the event, perfect or not.
Make a to-do list – with a timeline. You can’t implement every new idea you heard right away. And it’s tempting to give into the overwhelming nature of all the inspiration and education by pulling the covers back over your head and, oh I don’t know, not blogging for a week. Or by ignoring your child who just wants her mother to entertain her during another snow day, isthattoomuchtoask, in favor of frantically applying every new tip you heard and then some.
Hypothetically speaking, of course.
So, again, don’t be like me. Make a list of all the new things you want to do and give yourself some time. And finally . . .
Remember that you can’t do it all. And there WILL be another conference, seminar, retreat or class.
And with that, I’m off to bed. Because as of tomorrow, I’m taking this advice and getting myself back in gear. After all, what choice do I have? All the cookies are gone.