Toolbox: After a Conference

Wow. Blackhat, Defcon, I didn’t make any of the other conferences going on in Vegas. And coming back it seems like there’s a sea of things to follow up on. A little bit of organization is helping me manage better this year, and so I thought I’d share what’s in my post-conference toolbox. I’m also sharing because I don’t think my workflow is optimal, and would love to learn how you’re working through this in 2019, with its profusion of ways to stay in touch.

I’ve added a new first step relative to last year, which is to write a trip report, for myself. It captures who I talked to, impressions, followup, and value of the event.

Next, I have a stack of queues to process:

  1. Email. My inbox, but I also have a folder called “followup.” I move a lot out of my inbox to the followup folder so I can see it when I’m back from travel. (I also have a set of monthly sub-folders: followup/august, followup/september, they let me deliver when I say “I’ll get back to you in three months.”)
  2. Signal, iMessage. For both of these, I go back through the conversations I’ve had, see if I had followups or if I dropped the ball on someone.
  3. Linkedin. I get a lot of linkedin requests, and I’m a fairly open networker. Sadly, the UI works very poorly for me. I would love to hear about tools that allow me to effectively move messages to something other than a LIFO queue.
  4. Workflowy. I’m experimenting with this as a note taking tool, and it’s not bad.
  5. Business cards. I go through the whole stack of cards for todo items. I try to write notes on business cards. I discovered I did that on one of 6 cards where I remembered something. That’s not very good odds, and forces me to consider what I might have missed. Still exploring how to make best use of cards without notes. Advice really welcome here.
  6. Slack channels. Go through, look at DMs and channels.
  7. Calendar. For each meeting, think about the meeting, check my notes, see if I remember followups or things that didn’t make it to an email/workflowy note. And yes, there were several discussions that I know we discussed followups that I re-discovered by looking at my calendar.
  8. Photos. Photographs are the new note-taking, and so going back through pictures you took is important.
  9. Twitter, Facebook. I’m trying to break from Twitter, and don’t use Facebook, but I figured I’d include them here because they’re maybe worth remembering.
  10. Read Later queue in Instapaper (new!)

After the queues, as a consultant, I have customer work to get back to and sales contacts to followup on. I have expenses. I haven’t found an expense app that I really like, and so I stuff receipts in an envelope each evening, and then deal with them when I get home.

If I missed any followups, I’m sorry. Please reach out!

But more, I’m curious what works for you? What’s in your toolbox?

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