| David Gane

Bulletproofing your Schedule from Travel

5 Day Break

Today is my first day back after a five days break. The family and I went travelling, did some shopping, water-sliding, and rode amusement park rides[1]

In my head, I was hoping to do some work while away, but I never came close to realizing this (sound similar, Ang?).

I found this interesting because I've got a pretty good set-up for my schedule, having a clear idea of knowing what needs to be done, when it has to happen, and what needs to happen next.[2]

Bulletproof systems

Yet, the fact that it all disappeared reminds me of something David Allen said about creating a bulletproof system. I don't remember the specifics, but the idea was that it should be able to survive even when you get sick (or in my case, going on a trip).

Although my system survived and was easy to return to, it was completely unusable while travelling. The blog was abandoned, prep work for the next book stalled, and most of personal habits went by the wayside.

System Overload

However, I realize the key to my problem wasn't that the system failed me, but that I left it too filled.

My daily routine works relatively well when I have the time. I have the work on the blog and book, but also have several repetitive tasks and habits, like walking the dog, reading time, or exercise. These work fine in the context of a regular day, but stepping out of that controlled leads to disarray.

Of course, I can't walk my dog when he is 10 hours away and spending quality time with my family is sort of the whole point. But what about getting in a little exercise or my 5 am morning coffee and reading time, when there isn't a place open at that time.

I realize the solution is to perform schedule triage prior to a trip. By cutting unessential habits and shoring up crucial activities will help maintain my sanity, especially when I'm stepping out of my usual routine.

In the future:

  • I'll likely dump reading time and focus on doing some work in the early morning, whether it is going through my list of to-dos and priorities, and focus on key emails and tasks.
  • As well, I'll likely seek out more time for walks if I know I'll be stuck in buildings for a majority of the trip.
  • Lastly, I will embrace my personal to-do list. I think as a parent, I often abandon the things I want to do for my children and wife, and all it does is make me miserable. While it's good to travel with the family, breaking off to do my own thing isn't a bad idea.

Back to you

  • perform triage on your schedule prior to the trip.
  • Cut ruthlessly, choose bare essentials
  • Include time for self.

  1. Well, my family did. I wandered the mall looking Gravol after the first ride. ↩︎

  2. I've offer the link but this system is really outdated for me. ↩︎

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