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How To Plan Your Next Vacation

Here is a guide for those of you planning any upcoming trips this year courtesy of Diana, one of our readers.

I am type A when it comes to planning trips.

Ok, who am I kidding? I’m type A when it comes to most things. Luckily, my husband is really laid back and lets me go crazy with trip planning. I like to do my research well in advance of the visit. When we arrive in a new city, I want to know that I’m staying in a good hotel/rental located in a great part of town.  Once we’re there I want to make sure we’re not wasting precious time wondering what to do – we already know.

What a Productive Day Looks Like

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on time blocking which is a useful method I use to make the most of my day. Now I want to share with you a real life example of how productive a day really can be. Lets take this past Tuesday for example of a day which I consider to be rather productive.

My alarm wakes me up and I get up very quickly as I know the surf is going to be good from reports I checked out the previous night. A quick brush of my teeth, a bite to eat, a surf equipment check and I’m driving to the beach which is only a 10-15 min drive for me. As a passionate surfer I have a rule of never living too far from the ocean.

Parked at the beach I get in my wetsuit and wax my board. Ten minutes later I’m paddling out to catch my first wave. For you surfers out there today was an epic surf day. Clean conditions and stand up barrels thanks to a combo swell at one of my favorite beach breaks. I catch as many drainers as possible and head back to my car.

I’m driving back to my house from the surf session to quickly drop off my board, rinse my wetsuit, tidy up and begin the trek to my regular day job as a Product Manager for a software company. On the way to work I listen to a podcast from Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income . I generally don’t listen to music much anymore. Music while relaxing or mood shifting is not the learning experience I am always seeking.

I’m seated at my desk ready to tackle the day. I always allot 30 min for e-mails and administrative work at the beginning of my day unless I have a meeting at that time. Throughout the day I will check e-mail in between time blocks. I try to manage my e-mail and not the other way around. I usually never respond to e-mail right away. If something is truly urgent I will be pinged via messenger or the person will come find me. Don’t let e-mail get in the way of your job or dreams!

I begin the day with time blocked activities going through lunch. I won’t bore you with all the work details but it is filled with meetings, conversations, emails, software tools, and more.

I begin the 35-40 min drive home where I listen to my favorite podcast called Entrepreneur On Fire hosted by John Lee Dumas. I find podcasts a great way to learn about any topic you can think of in a setting where you are not going to be bothered by anyone with e-mails, texts or calls. I have a policy of not reading or responding to texts or e-mails while driving which is a safe one that more people should adopt. Occasionally I will take a call on my wireless bluetooth but it is rare.

Once home I quickly change into my workout gear for some home workouts. Yes I am crazy and do 2 workouts in one day if you count surfing which I consider to be more cardio. I usually do 3 sets of the which I found out about recently from the New York Times. I will follow that with stretching. Occasionally I will throw in the 5 min plank workout and just a ton of situps, pushups, leg and back exercises. I eat a light Paleo friendly dinner immediately after my workout and hit the shower. Some days this time is filled with tennis vs home workouts. In general I try to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. It is the best medicine anyone can take.

Time to do some Van Dammage for ZeroToComplete! Van Dammage is a term one of my good friends from college came up with and has stuck with me to this day. Basically it is a term for getting stuff done inspired by Jean-Claude Van Damme. I have a rule to dedicate at least one or two hours of high priority activity on the blog every day just like Van Damme kicks at least 10 to 20 people in every one of his movies. I use Trello to manage my work both at my day job and for my blog. It is an amazing tool I have used for a few years now. If I don’t have it in Trello then the work is not going to be done. Any idea or activity I need to do is put in Trello and prioritized accordingly. I might have to do a post on Trello soon.

I’m done with blog work and winding down for the night by preparing for bed. If you are wondering what is missing it is something most American’s are addicted to: Television. I don’t watch TV or have cable. No Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, or “Name of Hot Show”. If you really want to start a business on the side of a day job sacrifices have to be made. Don’t worry there will always be the next cool show that everyone is watching. Catch up on those when you are retired and 75 years old.


How productive are you? Prove it in the comments below!