Tools for Planning Your TTD Conference Schedule

Teach Them Diligently released their schedule for Nashville last week and I have been pouring over all of the amazing speakers and sessions. The preliminary lineup has THIRTEEN pages. WOW! This event is full of so much good information and encouragement to families. I look forward to it all year long.

I remember how overwhelmed I was my first year. I mean, how does one really narrow down almost 200 options? My second year I got into a pretty good rhythm with selecting sessions/speakers so I figured this year would be more of the same. Nope. I broke out my highlighters once again but, surprisingly, I still felt a little overwhelmed. There is just SO much to choose from. This event seriously has something for everyone!

I decided I needed to take a different approach this year and I think you might like some of the tools I created to help me narrow down my agenda.

For starters, I created a personal schedule outline. This shows all of the available timeslots and I pre-filled any events that occur by themselves (i.e. it’s the ONLY thing available at that particular time). We won’t know the location until the final agenda is released but I went ahead and created a spot for it. Even though all of this information is included in the conference program we receive onsite, this will be a great at-a-glance guide to keep with me.

Next, I decided the paper version wasn’t cutting it for me. I’m a digital kind of girl. A spreadsheet kind of girl. Have I mentioned yet that I’m Type A? You might have guessed that by now. 
I’m now familiar with some of the speakers and I want to sit in on their class. The problem is that many of them speak multiple times. I needed a way to see all of the workshops for a particular speaker at a glance so I can determine which topic best fits my needs. I needed to be able to “sort” the agenda but that’s not possible with a PDF. 
I converted the conference schedule to an Excel spreadsheet so that I can sort by speaker, day, or time. This also means that once I’ve filled in a spot on my personal itinerary, I can delete those rows and decrease the clutter. 
With these tools, I think I can finally make some headway on choosing my speakers and sessions for 2016. I hope to post my final choices next week. I’m so thankful for this conference and all the hard work that goes into lining up the presenters. It’s so much fun seeing the fantastic content that will be given to parents this year. 
UPDATE: Oh my goodness, this is SO much easier! I was able to go through and delete all of the sessions that didn’t apply to me or interest me, and I narrowed down 13 pages to 3. This is much more manageable!

Maybe you will find these tools helpful as well. I can’t wait to see you all at Opyland next month! 
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