Travel for growth, part 1
Travel is often left as a residual item in expenditure plans after everything else.
However, it is disruptive, refreshing, regenerative and transformative and should have the highest priority
in spending plans. Now is the time to re-assess your priorities in this area
Start by watching my introductory video below (click on the bar under the video to read the full text).
Then spend some time on self reflection and further reading.
Why we need to re-prioritise travel, part 1…
HELLO. ITS JEREMY here to welcome you to this months topic which is on travel and its key role in our own growth and personal development.
THIS IS AN underrated topic, I feel, even though it has significant implications for our money and our attitude to money. SO OFTEN PEOPLE leave money for travel to the end of their expenditure plans. It becomes a residual item after everything else has been taken into account. In this post and the next I want to show why we need to re-assess our priorities in this area.
THIS IS A TWO PART POST. This month I will introduce the topic and discuss why preparation is so important AND NEXT MONTH I will look at the transformative effects of travel and its aftermath.
I TAKE A VERY WIDE perspective on travel. Whilst we tend think of travel as being the process of going away from home to a new environment, often on holiday as many of us will be doing this July and August, I SEE TRAVEL as being both a physical and a spiritual process. Thus for me READING A BOOK is travel in the sense that it takes me out of the comfort zone of my home and workplace into a new environment with the potential to bring about personal change within me. So whilst travel will certainly involve HOLIDAYS in the conventional sense of the word, for me it is more about purposeful travel such as exploring NEW PLACES and new cultures, discovering ART, science, politics, visiting FRIENDS or family, attending CONFERENCES and workshops, VOLUNTEERING, FESTIVALS, even GOING TO THE CINEMA.
Travel has an influence on our lives beyond just the journey or holiday itself. IT INVOLVES THOSE two core consumables that are ever present in our lives – time and money. It is also FUNDAMENTALLY DISRUPTIVE, taking us out of our normal routines and comfort zones, and is therefore both refreshing and regenerative. Travel, at the end of the day, is transformative.
JOURNEY THEREFORE should form an important part of our life and financial plans, and should be positioned towards the top of our agendas. Sadly, though, it is often left as AFTERTHOUGHTS in our plans, to be taken spontaneously as and when time allows. And whilst there is nothing at all wrong with SPONTANEITY, an off-the-cuff break may not provide the same benefits as a more set piece journey. A friend of mine is religious: work six weeks, travel two weeks, repeat. I have to say, he looks good on it and remains full of energy and drive.
THERE ARE THREE PHASES to any journey – PREPARATION, the JOURNEY itself and RETURN. Combined, they deliver personal integrity and transformation. I’ll spend the rest of this post on preparation and look at the journey itself and the return next month, by WHICH TIME I will have returned from my own purposeful journey to Lourdes for the second time this year.
SO PREPARE TO be transformed
‘I AM DUE AT the airport in three hours time and I still haven’t packed yet!’
ITS CALLED A DEADLINE and, along with a little bit of self-organisation, it can do wonders to your life. I’ve heard it said that deadlines are unprofessional, an artificial and inconsistent way of running one’s life. We should, instead, plan our lives on a minute by minute basis, avoid all distractions and live such a structured life that we are always up-to-date and on top of things, projects delivered on their due date.
The reality of human nature is that this just does not work. Life does get in the way of plans. Life is just too short to ignore an impromptu invitation from a friend to a long lunch which writes off the afternoon. Kids get sick. Friends ask for help. Trains role out of the station and sit for two hours before resuming their journey as did my train from York the other day.
A travel deadline is one of the key benefits of the journey itself.
Like you, I always seem to have a lot on my plate. I find it is hardly surprising that occasionally life get on top of me and I find I don’t know which way to turn or what to do next. This happens frequently and travel deadlines are invaluable in focussing my mind on meeting commitments. Indeed, its one reason why we should schedule time away much more frequently than we do.
This is where the personal organisation bit and an invaluable tool called REMEMBER THE MILK come in, which when combined with the holiday deadline, provides a powerful combination to get things done.
Remember the Milk is less sophisticated than project management tools such as Asana. However, its simplicity is its advantage. It allows you to set up any number of projects and to add tasks to each project. Tasks are added simply by typing into the new task bar and adding date due, priority, tag, location etc all on one line in one go.
SO BEFORE MY last trip I made a large pile of papers, notes, bills, letters, everything from my home and office life that was outstanding. Next I went through each and put it onto its appropriate PROJECT PILE, projects duplicated in Remember the Milk. Every time I came across something that needed doing I entered it AS A TASK in the appropriate project, giving every task a priority of 1 and a finish date of today.
This gave me gave me a full, unprioritised list of things I needed to do. Next I converted this into a MANAGEABLE TASK LIST, which is where RTM comes into its own. Starting at the top of the list I went through every task and made a decision as to whether to postpone it indefinitely (by simply removing the due date so it falls to the bottom of the list, delegate it (RTM has a team function, so this is delightfully easy – and satisfying), or to do it.
Where a task needed doing by me, I reprioritised it and gave it a realistic deadline, some of which were after my return. And, at the end of the morning I was left with a concise list of what needed doing and in what order. IT THEN BECAME a simple process of taking the top task, doing it, marking it as complete and moving on to the next.
It was my DEPARTURE DEADLINE that did it, though. Had I not booked it (and booked it only three weeks before the departure date, at that) I would probably never have got round to sorting out my life and business. Truly it transformed my life and by extension the lives of those I serve.
And when we talk about our return in the next post we will discover important other benefits of leaving behind an empty desk and a clear schedule.
And of course, among those tasks will be everything that you need to do to prepare for your journey including travel plans, clothing and equipment, itineraries and research. I recently organised a family trip to SOUTH AFRICA which involved staying at different family locations and airbnbs and co-ordinating with a friend from the US joining us for the ten days. It took me nearly two weeks, so don’t underestimate the time it takes to organise these things.
NEXT MONTH we’ll look at why the journey is so important and so powerful, and how to deal with your transformed self and your old world on your return.
Thats it. Have a great month and enjoy yourself, especially if you are traveling.
Some aids to personal organisation
Remember the Milk (RTM) is a simple personal to-do list management and reminder app that syncs your project lists across all your devices.
Its simplicity is its advantage. Having entered your task description in the bar (‘Collect Euros from bank’) you use single key codes to enter other important information such as start date and time, date or time due, priority, repeated, project, location etc.
You can elect to receive reminders and warnings by text, email, IM and the app on your mobile.
One of the app’s great advantages is a sub-task feature which enables you to break down one big task into multiple sub tasks with different time lines.
Simple, effective and not over frilly.
Monday is more for team task management than personal task management.
It works on a word basis rather than a list basis. The board shows you all your ‘pulses’ (Monday used to be known as Dapulse). You can add a number of characteristics to each pulse including leader, progress, due date, priority etc.
A timeline feature enables you to move pulses around on the board to manage workflows more effectively.
Your entire team can be divided into as many teams as you want, with individual pulses or projects allocated to each team.