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Countdown to LPSC: Avoiding Conference Burnout

March 3, 2010

So it’s midweek at LPSC now, and this is the time when the burnout (for me, anyway) usually hits – that point when you feel “my brain is full!” or “I can’t possibly sit through yet another talk, but…”

Some thoughts on what you might do to avoid this and get through the rest of the week:

  • Take a nap. There’s no shame in this if you do it in your hotel room and keep the nap to an hour or two (sleeping in the sessions is normally frowned upon).
  • Go work out – or go for a walk (there’s a path beside the waterway out the back door of the conference hotel)… and forget the talks for a little while (let your brain rest, too)
  • Sitting in a session in between a couple of talks you’re really interested in? See if you can critique the talk of the current speaker – how would you grade them if they were your student? What constructive criticism might you share? (My first peeve – please don’t try and underline text on the slide with the laser pointer as you say it… it’s really distracting!)
  • While we sitting in the session, come up with a couple questions to ask the speaker. You don’t have to ask it – this time…
  • Wander out into the hallway and just people watch – see if you can recognize people as they walk by: do you know who the big names in your research area are? (this might help when you give a talk and the questioners queue up at the end, or someone comes to your poster without their name tag on…)
  • Find a comfy chair and write a blog post make sense of your notes: I see a lot of people writing notes in the margins of the conference program… but that’s not an organized place. Rewrite or type up your notes so they make sense next week/month/year.

Just some thoughts – hope everyone is having a good conference so far! If you’ve got your own strategies for not getting overwhelmed this week, please share!
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