How to Be Productive at a Work Conference

Published on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

You can be productive while at a work conferenceTraveling for work can be a double edged sword: on the one hand you get a break from the office, the chance to socialize (or network, if you're fancy) with new people and a change of scenery. On the other hand, it's simply too easy to fall behind on actual work when you're having fun on the road.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your conference while still staying on task at work.

Work in Transit

Once the actual conference starts you may be too busy to get much work done, so give yourself a head start and dive into your most important assignments on your way to the conference. Most airlines, buses and trains offer WiFi these days, so take advantage of this distraction free time to cross a few things off your list. Instead of sinking into in-flight movie oblivion, spend your time answering emails and other necessary tasks.

Prioritize Your Assignments

You’re simply not going to be able to get all of your usual work done in addition to your conference duties, so before you leave go over your to-do list and pick out the tasks that are most important. Be realistic: some assignments are easier to do in small pieces between sessions, whereas other tasks require a great deal of concentration and are better put off until after you return from your trip.

Don't Burn the Midnight Oil

Let's be honest: conferences don't stop at 5 pm. There are always receptions, cocktail hours and after-parties to attend, people to meet and business cards to hand out. It's definitely part of the fun, and probably counts as work by some loose definition, but late-night networking is not without its cost. Too much late night wheeling and dealing leads to hangovers, exhaustion and all of a sudden it's near impossible to get the work you had planned for done.

You don't have to totally sacrifice your social life, but consider cutting the party short in favor of a good night's sleep and greater productivity the next day.

Stay Charged Up

Opportunities to work at conferences come when you lease expect it, so make your life easier by making sure your work station is ready to go when you need it. Keep your laptop fully charged and carry a power cable (and maybe even an extra battery if you have one). Conference WiFi can be notoriously spotty so it's not a bad idea to bring your own MiFi device or tether to your phone.

Lastly, bring along some headphones to help you tune out from your surroundings and concentrate on your work.

Don't Try to Do it All

With big conferences there is always so much to do and see, and there is pressure to be constantly busy. Of course you want to make the most of your time there, but try to prioritize your commitments and choose which sessions you want to attend wisely. If there is nothing of interest happening for you, then it's the perfect time to slip away and do a little work in your hotel room or at a coffee shop (or even just in the hallway).

Our team is great at staying productive when they're at conferences. Check out the upcoming events where you can find us.



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