After staying up late to pack (for the zillionth time—because Miss Procrastination usually tells me that there’s no good time for packing), I asked myself this question:
What if I loved packing for business travel?
Which of the following best describes your feelings about packing?
- Hate it
- Am I done yet?
- Don’t mind it
- Like it
- Love it
My results are usually somewhere between a and b.
The Desired State. So, let’s imagine a state in which packing is actually a pleasure (instead of a mind-numbing chore that takes way too long). Packing would look more like this:
- I’m not muttering about how long it takes.
- I’m not staying up way-too-late the night before a trip.
- Instead, it’s like putting together an aesthetically-pleasing puzzle.
- And, I’m looking forward to it. (Sounds good.)
Barriers. Potential issues between here and loving packing (some of these are mine, and some are from other people’s complaints):
- Bag(s). Size, weight, appearance, condition. Checking them (standing in line, maybe paying extra) and/or finding room in the overhead bins.
- Clothes. Nothing to wear. Wrong size. Wrong season. Can I really wear that again? Drat, I have to go shopping, and my favorite store for last-minute purchases went bankrupt.
- Little Things. There are quite a few of these, taking time to assemble. For example: checking for toothpaste, counting vitamins, packing tea for the road.
- Business Things. More time to put together project notes, paper, electronic files, business cards (if still relevant).
- Big and Small Computers. Making sure these are charged and not forgotten: laptop (for actually writing things), iPad (mostly for reading), iPhone (for directions and zillions of other things). Cords, cables, ear pods, memory stick, chargers.
- Managing Things Along the Way. Where’s my ticket? Where do I put this receipt? Why are my sleeping clothes (or the outfit I plan to wear tomorrow) underneath everything else? Not to mention: repacking everything to go home again (and now the very same items take up more room than before and threaten not to fit in the suitcase).
Solutions. Training is definitely not required. But a checklist (or two), the right equipment and supplies, and a rational, not-at-the-last-minute motivational and production strategy might just fix this whole thing.
According to my invisible friend, Miss Procrastination, packing will always be a chore, best put off until the last minute because it’s not really a value-add activity. (How annoying that she uses terms like “value add.”)
But here’s the thing. When you do something multiple times a year, and each time it’s more of a dreaded thing than something to look forward to, why not find ways to make it closer to something we love than something we hate?
Sound possible? Stay tuned for Part II.