Tag Archives: vacation

Productivity, Motivation, and Personal Development Links – 30th November 2008

I had as great weeks vacation at Centerparcs with my family. I now feel energized and ready to get back to it.

I used my Moleskine and iPhone to their full ability whilst away, making a lot of notes and collecting every thought I had to ensure all my Open Loops were closed.

I had to do quite a catch up when I got back as I did not have 3G access on my Mac but I did on my iPhone.

Here are my collection of links for this week.

  • My first link for this week is a link to the latest December 08 issue of the Online Costco Connections Magazine. The reason for the link is that there is a great GTD Interview with David Allen on Pages 22 to 25.
  • My second link is from Baron.vc is it is a link about Really Getting Things Done with Remember The Milk iPhone App. Remember The Milk is a cool web and iPhone application and the blog post shows you how the author uses them both to Get Things Done.
  • My third link is a link to a video on how to create a GTD Notebook. The link to the video is from heathervescent.com although the link is to Rob Thompsons Blog
  • My fourth link is a link to a post about leaving Things, and moving to OmniFocus. I have not really given Things a proper try yet, as I am too firmly routed to OmniFocus and reading this post makes me glad that it seems my decision is the correct one.
  • My fifth and last link for this week is a link to the iBoughtaMac.com blog about To Do Lists Made Simple. The post focuses on Things as the application of choice. Good contrast to the last link.

I am trying to get one more post in tonight, a post covering the Top 10 Most Downloaded Free Productivity iPhone Apps.

Wishing you all a great week and I am glad to be back.

5 Vacation Productivity Tips

Vacation Productivity
I am going away tomorrow to Centerparcs with my family. I am looking forward to a nice week in the forest spending quality time with my family.

Like many people, I work hard and taking time out is quite hard due to the pressures of running your own business. However, bonding and spending quality time with your family is also very important and getting that work life balance is always key. I have four children so spending time with them is one of my main priorities but luckily I am home a lot so get a lot of time to spend with them.

Luckily, I have always been able to utilize my vacations as great “think tanks”. I always seem to come out of a vacation more energized than when I went in. Some of my greatest ideas have come out of being away on vacation.

I think it is the fact that I remove myself from my daily routine, so my brain is able to focus its thought patterns on other, more creative tasks.

I thought I would take the time to share what I consider to be five great tips for getting the most out of a vacation from a productivity point of view:

1 – Ensure You Leave With No Open Loops

Before you go on vacation, I feel that it is imperative that your Open Loops are closed.

What I mean here for those of you new to the term Open Loops is that you have to ensure your mind is free of niggling tasks that must be done before you leave. In the few days leading up to your vacation, it is very important to hone your productivity skills in order to complete the tasks that must be complete.

I like to prioritize the tasks that must be done before I go away and things that can wait. I do a pre-vacation review and get my task system in place with a clear defined list of actions that I must do in order to go away with a clear mind.

2 – Let People Know You Are Away

I always let people who may be needing me in the week I am away know that I am going to be away. This sets their expectations and removes the worry that you will get something to deal with that is urgent whilst you are away.

A very important thing to do is to set your Out Of Office Assistant letting people clearly know that you are away, when you will be back, who they can contact whilst you are away, and what they can do if they need to contact you.

Using a system like AwayFind is a fantastic resource for covering when you are on vacation. I have just changed my regular Out Of Office message to state that I am away on vacation with limited access to email, but they can still send me an urgent message through AwayFind if needed.

3 – Pack a Good Book

I love to read when I am away. I love biographies and anything which will improve my mind and motivate me. I have just finished reading Tycoon by Peter Jones and I am taking with me this time The Real Deal by James Caan. Book reviews will follow for both these books pretty soon.

Books ignite the spark in my brain and help me with my thinking. I normally pick up some little nuggets of inspiration from these books and it is always nice to see how other people made it. I like to read about success, motivation, and also people who are self made entrepreneur millionaires.

4 – Take a Notebook to help you Collect Your Thoughts

As I have wrote about before, when I am on vacation with an empty mind, I get my most creative thoughts. Because of this, and also the fact that I am not in front of my Mac all day it is very important to take a good notebook and pen with you.

I normally pack a couple of Moleskine’s and a few pens to ensure everything is collected. I always have my iPhone but seem to prefer paper based collection when I am away.

It is so important to collect and record these thoughts as soon as they enter your head. Once I return home, I enjoy recording all these into my GTD system to ensure that they are allocated and scheduled for completion when they need to get done.

5 – Enjoy Yourself!

Last but not least, Enjoy yourself!

You work hard, and you deserve a break! Too many times we are at work dreaming about being at home, and then when we are at home we are dreaming about being at work. It is important to utilize the time on vacation to recharge your batteries so you can return to the office energized!

Well, I will enjoy myself and I know I will have some great productive ideas that will be put to good use on my return.

Do you have any little tips and tricks for getting the most out of your vacations? I would love to hear!

Thanks, and have a productive week!

Getting Things Done on Vacation

GTD Holiday
I go on Holiday tomorrow!

2 weeks in the sun (hopefully) visiting the Algarve in Portugal. It is a well deserved break as I have been working flat out over the past few months and it is one of those vacations that just jump up at you last minute.

I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my wife and children and hopefully getting some great snorkeling in the sea. My eldest son and daughter have their fins and masks ready so I have a few snorkeling buddies on this trip.

Running my own businesses, it is impossible to switch off, and not in my best interests to do so. This means that going on vacation brings with it a whole new set of challenges to ensure that I Get Things Done whilst out of my normal environment. Two weeks in this electronic information age is a real long time to be cut off so I have had to plan well to ensure that all bases are covered. My emails will keep coming in, and my phone will keep ringing. We are working on closing some of our largest deals right now so I have to keep my finger on the pulse.

Back in the office, my usual system consists of OmniFocus on my Mac combined with my iPhone and a trusty Moleskine Cahier in my back pocket, of course with the golf pencil. Wherever you may see me, there is never a Moleskine too far away. I know I have said it many times but the inclusion of a simple notebook into my method of self organisation has had the largest impact on my success. I can take those little notes, as and when they pop into my head. Everything is collected, I have a great hit rate at collecting tasks. All helps in reducing those pesky Open Loops that must be avoided at all cost!

The Mac is not going with me. The 17″ MacBook Pro is great but I don’t want to take it to a beach resort with me. The iPhone and a few Moleskine’s will make the trip. I am also taking my EeePC with me, armed with a 3G USB card that has just been enabled so I can use it in Portugal without it costing the same as a small car per MB! So, email, and web browsing will hopefully be available, and at broadband speeds. This will also save me some call costs as it will cost me 50p (around $1) per minute to call back to the UK from Portugal. I have Skype on the EeePC so I can call home for 1.2p (around 2 cents) per minute, and that is much better.

One thing I find whilst on holiday is that my mind goes into overdrive. I think because it has less things to think about, with the most taxing decision being what type of shellfish to eat that evening. So I always seem to have fantastic ideas, most that I want to immediately research, but can’t because I am on holiday. I have been known to fill a notebook on holiday, and even used to make notes well before my obsession with carrying one with me everywhere.

So, the reliance upon my notebooks becomes even more of an issue whilst away and it is always handy to have one ready to collect the ideas and thoughts that enter my head. Every time I go away I always have a great list of tasks that need adding to my system currently in use. This time, I am going to try to process whilst away and utilise the facility in OmniFocus where you can email tasks to it. Therefore, I am to email all of the tasks to myself on an account which only OmniFocus is tracking so when I get back to my Mac, hopefully all of my tasks will be entered with the correct contexts and due dates ready included. This will save me some time when I get home which will let me focus on other issues that will no doubt require my attention.

I have some great books to read whilst away, all of which I will review on this site when I return.

Blog posts may be scarce, if not at all but I may try to blog midweek to see how my ability to process tasks whilst away is going.

See you all in two weeks!