Randy Dean's Timely Tips

You may have read Timely Tips on Randy Dean's web site, but now you can interact with it here on Blogspot.com. Please feel free to add comments and tips of your own, and thank you for your continued interest.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Timely Tips© Volume 2 Issue 1: January 2005 — “The Travel Maestro”

I hope that all of you have had a happy, restful, and enjoyable holiday season. Now, you are probably getting back into the swing of things, and diving into the inherent craziness that a new year brings. For many of you, that probably means getting back on the road again for business travel. Even if you don't travel much for business, you may be beginning to plan your personal trips or vacations for the year.

I have been traveling for business and for pleasure regularly for more than 15 years now. When I first started traveling, I would have classified myself as a "clumsy" traveler -- I was very unorganized and likely to forget important if not critical items on my trips. I have wasted valuable time and money looking for and buying stuff that I already owned but forgot to pack. And I had a propensity to make the same mistakes packing more than once.

As a matter of fact, I remember well when I took a trip to visit a possible employer for a job interview. I was in a city I was unfamiliar with, but I thought I packed everything that I needed. As I dressed for the interview that morning with my nicest black suit, I realized that I hadn't packed an appropriate pair of nice black dress socks. I figured that showing up with a black suit and gym socks would probably pre-empt any chances of getting the job, but I was also in a downtown area not close to any big box stores. The interview was at 9:00 a.m., and most of the city department stores didn't open until 9:30 or 10:00. I was in a fix! If it wasn't for a VERY kind store clerk that opened the door for me early, I would have really been left in an unwinnable situation. I never did tell anyone that day that I was wearing a pair of women's dress socks, as that was the only pair the store had that would work, although I do believe I may have been a bit more sensitive in the interview than typical. ;-)

From that point forward, I vowed to never forget items on a trip, and I thought about my training in time and project management and came up with a very simple solution. I created a memo in my planner that was a standard pack list for business trips. Every time that I went on a trip, I would check my list as I packed for the trip to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything useful. It was also handy when I packed to go home to make sure I wasn't forgettting anything in the hotel. And, over time, as I traveled, I kept adding items to the list that I thought would be useful, so the list has grown and evolved over time.

When I switched to the Palm platform a few years ago, I built a standard memo in my memo pad, in the "Business" category, which now acts as my pack list, and I just carry my Palm around with me as I pack to make sure I have everything I need. I even created a few new "specialty" packing lists, including lists for personal trips/vacations, hiking/camping trips, and even trips where we are taking the baby. These lists also have grown and evolved over time, and are much more inclusive than originally. Now, it is very rare that I forget something on a trip, although I do have the propensity to "overpack" a bit now.

This is a fun and simple idea -- one I would like for each of you to take advantage of. Because of that, I have actually posted many of these packing memos on my Web site (www.randalldean.com). You can go to the site, and click on the link for FREE PDA Memo Pad downloads. You'll find several of the packing lists that I've mentioned, as well as a memo that details my daily routine for organizing my information overload and my weekly update process for maintaining the quality of my time management/organization system. I encourage you to visit the site today for these free downloads. (You can also find info on some new courses I am offering in different cities around the U.S., as well as business updates in the "News" section.)

Now you can experience the greatly reduced stress level that accompanies well organized business or personal travel. Maybe you can actually even enjoy your trips now!


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