Self-care at Agile2019

Jul 22, 2019  ·  Sam Laing

In a few weeks I will be jetting off to Agile2019 in WashingtonDC. I am the track chair for the Self-Care track and so I was wondering about how to care for myself during the conference. I have over the last 9 years come up with tricks for dealing with this very large conference.

For most of us just looking at the program is overwhelming!

There are 22 concurrent tracks, plus other activities happening and evening events. Not to mention the THOUSANDS of people.

Here are some tips to make the most out of the conference and look after yourself – all tried and tested by me.

  1. Look at the program schedule and mark your top talk each day that you MUST attend.
  2. For those talks arrive early, as the rooms fill up on a first come basis, and some talks are very popular filling up 30 minutes beforehand!
  3. Now mark the WOULD BE INTERESTING talks. Allow these to overlap, and pick as many or as little as you would like.
  4. Look at the evening activities and decide which you will attend.
  5. Hydrate! Carry a water bottle with you and drink plenty of water, even more if you are partaking in all the evening festivities!
  6. Always have a notebook and pen on you. If people hand you business cards scribble on the back something to remember them by.
  7. If you would like to buy a book or two visit the bookstore on Monday and do that. The popular books sell out within hours!
  8. At some point it will all become too much. That is ok. For me its usually on Wednesday! See when there are 2 time slots in a row where you can check out of the conference, any of your WOULD BE INTERESTING talks fall into this category. Plan for that! Go to the pool, go for a walk, sleep in.
  9. If you have family at home expecting a call – put reminders in your calendar. At these events you tend to forget time and that the outside world exists.
  10. The hotel is huge and you will be in it for 5 days and nights. Make plans to get out and get some fresh air. Take a walk, hang out at the pool. Check twitter, many attendees organise morning walks or runs.
  11. Every evening set aside 30 minutes to reflect on your day. What did you attend? What did you learn?
  12. Remember to have fun. Meet new people, be convinced to try a different talk or topic or track. Be open to new ideas and thoughts. You may end up surprising yourself!