Trip prep is not a simple or a quick thing, especially when you think about all of the unknown variables surrounding travel.
Add to that the fact that you’re an entrepreneur and are responsible for running your own business, and you’ve basically got a second full-time job when it comes to trip prep!
That’s why when John and I started planning for our 60-day Europe trip that’s happening the Fall of 2018, I set aside specific and dedicated time to make sure I had our travel plans in order, my work in order, and an actual plan in place to ensure I’d successfully reach my goal of BEING PREPARED come departure time.
I’m excited to be sharing my process with you here through a four part series on Trip Prep.
And the great news is, there are a set of steps you can follow to help you prep for your trip AND ensure you’re doing everything you can to set yourself up for success – on the road and at home in your business.
Putting a Plan in Place with Systems
In Part I of this four part series we talked about getting your travel in order and how it all starts with organization.
In Part II we discussed the steps you can take to get your work in order.
Here in Part III we’re going to talk about putting a plan in place with systems to help you accomplish your goal of being prepared come departure time.
Here are the steps you need to take to make it happen.
4 Steps to Putting a Plan in Place with Systems
Step 1: Choose the task
Now that you have your complete list of things you need to accomplish before you go – plus you’ve scheduled the time on your calendar for when you’re going to do them (both of these things happened in Part II) – it’s time to break it down one task at a time.
The way I like to decide which to break down first is by looking at how many times I have to do the task before we leave, in addition to how long the task takes me to complete.
For example, if I look at my list and I have:
- 8 Blog posts
- 8 Podcast episodes
- 16 Email newsletters
- 16 Show notes to review
Then I’m going to choose ONE based on how many times I have to do it + how long it will take me.
So while I have fewer blog posts to create than I do email newsletters, I know a blog post takes me about 10x the amount of time a newsletter does, and therefore I’m going to choose my blog posts first.
Step 2: Write out the steps
Now that I’m focused on just ONE task, I want to created a system around it to ensure that I’m working most efficiently when I’m doing it.
With the limited time I have available to get it done, saving time is of utmost importance!
So I’m going to start by writing out the steps I take every time I create a blog post:
- Decide on a topic
- Create a working title
- Determine when the post will go live
- Pull up my outline template (this could involve sub-steps if you don’t already have an outline template; this is essentially what I write out every time I sit down to create a blog post)
- Fill in each step / the meat of the post
- Review entire post
- Final edits
- Add image
- Schedule for release
Step 3: Repeat for all tasks
Once you have all the steps written out for your ONE task – so you know exactly what to do every time you sit down to do that thing – you’re going to repeat the process for every one of the tasks you have to work on / accomplish before you leave.
Step 4: Add due dates
Once you have the steps written out for each of the tasks you want to accomplish before leaving on your trip, it’s time to add due dates based on your deadline.
As an example, in Part II I talked about scheduling time on your calendar to accomplish the tasks you’ll be working on. Remember the example I gave about scheduling 4 hours every Monday and 4 hours every Tuesday as my time for working on the blog and the podcast?
Here, I’m going to make sure I have this laid out for every task I need to accomplish – plus, I’m going to make sure that the due dates make sense based on how much time I have before I leave.
If I find out when putting due dates on things that there are certain tasks I haven’t allotted enough time for, then it’s time to look back at my schedule and figure out how I’m going to fit it in.
If it’s not possible to fit it in, then it becomes a question of priority OR a questions of whether you’ll be able to do that thing while you’re traveling.
So in putting due dates on everything you want to accomplish, you’re simply showing yourself:
- What needs to get done
- When you’ll do it
- What’s not accounted for prior to your departure
Those things that aren’t accounted for prior to your departure are tasks that you either need to:
- Re-prioritize (does it really have to get done before you leave?)
- Is it something you can accomplish during your travels?
- How can you move stuff around to make sure it gets accomplished before you leave?
An example might be:
Let’s say I have my blogs and podcast episodes all scheduled out with due dates. I’m feeling great about that. But I can’t quite figure out how I’m going to accomplish getting 16 emails scheduled out.
In looking at my calendar, I have time to schedule 8 of them, and so for the other 8 emails, I’m going to have to ask myself:
- Re-prioritize (does it really have to get done before you leave?) – It doesn’t HAVE to, but I really do want to get it done before I go
- Is it something you can accomplish during your travels? – I could, but again, I really want to make sure I’m not committed to date-specific tasks while I’m traveling
- How can you move stuff around to make sure it gets accomplished before you leave? – I figure it will take me 4 hours to completely write, edit, test, and schedule out 8 emails, and so I’m going to wake up 1 hour earlier on Wednesday’s for the next 4 weeks to give myself those 4 hours to complete this task before we go.
Wrap up of Trip Prep: Putting a Plan in Place with Systems
Writing out the steps and putting due dates on each of your tasks might seem like little things, but creating a system around what it is you’re trying to accomplish will save you A LOT of time in the process.
In Part IV we’re going to wrap up our series with The Push – it’s time to take all the trip prep lessons you’ve learned in the past three parts and DO THE WORK!