In theory, I love plans. In practice, I don’t do them nearly enough.
Recently this was illustrated to me while on a business trip. Normally I’m very “go-with-the-flow”, but recently I’ve discovered that when I compared my past trips to people who took the same trip my experience was quite different from theirs.
A quick analysis revealed that my relaxed approach to my trip resulted in a lot of “lost” time and opportunities. I wasn’t being intentional with my efforts so as a result I had a very so-so time. Or worse, didn’t see anything exciting and new.
So now when I have a trip I’ve learned to make a rough itinerary of when/where I need to be, and then look to see if there’s anything interesting I could do in the time between events.
Example Scenario: You are going to fly to a new town for 3 days of training. The training takes place 4 blocks from your hotel, and from 9am to 4:30pm. This leaves a lot of time in the afternoon/evening that could be wasted if it is not planned. Also on the last day your flight leaves really late in the day. So what should you do?
Here’s how I’ve started approaching this:
- What restaurants are near the 2 locations? What 3 looks the most interesting for dinner? (Go ahead and pencil those into your schedule)
- Are there any interesting attractions within a few blocks of either location? Try to find 3 things that would be cool to see.
- Are there any landmarks (baseball stadium, museum, bookstore) that would be awesome to visit? Write those down
At this point you have a bunch of options!
Making a decision
So, now with your list of things to do if you ever reach a point where you don’t know what to do (or eat), just look at the list! You can decide to do something other than what is on the list, but at least now you will have a starting point.
For me this solves the greatest problem: coming up with something on short notice. It is much easier to choose from a menu of options than it is to conjure up something new on the spot.
Having too many choices can be paralyzing. Even a little bit of list can act a guide post to get you to something quickly.
And remember: Just because it isn’t on the list doesn’t mean you can’t do it. The list is just there to keep you from sitting around doing nothing.
Because doing nothing is the worst. Action. Always take action.