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It’s that time of year again when a bunch of financial bloggers are soon heading to our biggest conference of the year. It’s also a time when we’re scrambling trying to get everything prepared ahead of time.

After several years of panicking at the last minute, this year I’ve decided to do something different. Here are the three ways I will plan ahead for the biggest industry conference of the year.

Start getting ahead of client work a few weeks early.

Rather than waiting until the conference is a week away to get ahead on client work, this year I’m starting much sooner.

At this point, I already know I’m likely going to need to get two weeks ahead. The first week is the week of the actual conference. The second week is the week where I will be recovering from attending said conference.

I have enough experience now to know nothing will get done the week of the conference. I also have enough experience to know it will take me a few days to get back into the swing of things. Therefore, the last thing I want to do is be stressed out the entire week before the actual event.

By the way, this also includes scheduling out my own content. The good news is I’m usually a month ahead on that anyway.

Start setting the calendar now.

Another way in which I plan ahead for a big conference is to start setting my calendar now. I’m already starting to get invitations for events. I also already know not to overload myself otherwise I’ll probably get sick.

That being said, I’m starting to set the calendar now. That means I’m saying yes to certain things while also turning down a few options which actually brings me to my next point.

Set clear objectives.

As much as I may want to do everything at this conference, the truth is I can’t. That’s why I have to get crystal clear on my objectives as I plan ahead.

In my case, I have two main objectives: make a return on my investment and hang out with my friends. In some cases, I can do both at the same time.

Here is an example of something I won’t be doing this year because it doesn’t meet my objectives. I likely won’t be taking any random meetings with brands I’ve never heard of. Mostly because this has usually proven to be a waste of time.

I also probably won’t be partaking in any random campaigns that don’t pay me. Again, because this has proven to be a waste of time. That’s time I could spend either a) finding a new client or b) having fun.

By getting clear on what my objectives are, I can simplify the planning process while focusing on what matters most to me and my business.

Final Thoughts

The good news about attending the same conference every year is that I already know what to expect. This allows me to plan ahead with plenty of time so that I don’t feel like an exhausted headless chicken.