With NHC, I always start with the due date of the entries and work backwards based on style. For lagers, I allow a week for shipping, 6 weeks or so for lagering and carbonation (I force carb), 3 or so weeks for fermentation, which gives me an estimate for my brew day. For my NEIPA, the time is considerably less. A week for shipping, 1 week to carbonate and 2 weeks fermentation.
I am lucky this year to be able to deliver my entries to my region (Boston)...usually I have to ship them.