The other day a friend asked if I could hang out. So I pulled out my phone and started looking through my calendar.
scroll past a week
scroll past another week
scroll past yet another week
Well I can hang out with you next month how does that sound?
Does this sound familiar to you?
I've been spending a lot of time at conferences over the last year and I wanted to do a little digging and see how I could optimize my time so I'm still learning & networking and I can also spend time at home with my friends & family.
How Many Conferences?
The first step is to take a look at your surroundings. In the last year I spent approximately 43 days at conferences.
Now 13 of those days were for local events so that means I'm spending 30 days out of town. That doesn't seem like much. But it's one whole month.
And many conferences – especially WordCamps – butt up against a weekend or they are over the weekend so it works out to about 1/4 weekends a month. That's a lot.
What Else is Going On?
Conferences are a big part of why I'm out of town so much. But I also take work trips – primarily for my LinkedIn Learning courses. And in the last year that was 21 days.
And I also visited my family in DC for a week (without my partner).
Now we're up to ~60 days or two months. That's about 2 out of every 4 weekends.
If you have busy friends like I do you'll have months where you can see them twice because your schedules align. And other months where you can't see them at all because your schedules are conflicting.
I want to be there for my friends. I want to see them regularly and build a casual friendship into a strong friendship. The type where if you ask them to bring a body bag & a shovel they'll actually show up.
How Else Can I Get What I Want?
I'm out of town 2/4 weekends. That's too much for me. So I'm going to limit my travel out of town. I've explored the local conference scene and there's a ton of amazing conferences here.
- WordCamp Denver
- WordCamp for Publishers
- Denver Digital Summit
- Denver Startup Week
Between all 4 of these conferences I paid $385. That includes tickets, lodging, & travel.
I'll still go to out of town conferences:
- WordCamp US
- Shopify Unite
- Craft + Commerce
Unfortunately I'll be cutting out a lot of WordCamps. I love going to speak at WordCamps and I'll do my best to go to as many close WordCamps as possible. But I have 52 weekends a year and I want to make sure I have space for friends & family .
That's about 16 days out of town. Add in my work trips and that's 37 days instead of 60 days. A 1/3 reduction.
Is This Normal?
Just as a little fun fact at the end here. I asked people what they thought of 43 days of conferences. And 26 people contributed to the poll.
Total days (including travel) spent at conferences in the last year: 43
— Patrick Rauland (@BFTrick) September 18, 2017
I was most surprised that 38% of people said it was just right. Almost half of my Twitter audience thought that was appropriate.
What do you think?