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Make Every Vacation Count: How You Can Travel Around The World Without Quitting Your Job

Make Every Vacation Count: How You Can Travel Around The World Without Quitting Your Job

Fulfilling your daydreams of traveling the world may seem impossible now that you have obligations like a full-time job. Luckily, your travel daydreams can become a reality with careful planning and creative thinking. Gunnar Garfors did exactly that when he accomplished his lifelong dream of visiting all 198 countries by the time he was 37, on top of being employed full-time back in his home country of Norway.

Feel inspired by this intrepid traveler? Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your vacation time:

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Make use of holidays and three-day weekends

In countries like the USA, we are not fortunate in having long paid vacations like those available in some European countries, like Norway. What is the next best thing?

Take advantage of three-day weekends or longer holiday breaks like those that occur during Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you live in the USA, for a three-day weekend you can easily plan a trip abroad to a nearby country like Canada or Mexico. Depending on where you live, places like Curaçao are a short plane ride away from the East Coast. It is important to think of all the possibilities available to you during these holiday breaks, because usually you’ll be surprised by how many options there are once you do some serious brainstorming.

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Tag a few extra days onto a business trip

Going abroad to discuss a new marketing strategy with clients in Japan? Add a few extra days to sightsee. Business trips are notorious for being short, and for being so busy that you barely get to see anything outside of the conference room and your hotel. Ask your boss if you can add a few extra days onto your trip to explore. A bonus is that it will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of the people you are working with- and how could your boss say no to that?

Take advantage of your vacation time

You may only have 2 weeks of vacation time, but if you use it wisely you can plan a big trip abroad each year that will allow you to see the world bit by bit. Since you have limited time, focus on 1 or 2 new cities within a country and really get to know your new destination. It may be tempting to see 3 or 4 cities, or 2 countries within this short time span, but in order to have a memorable trip it is important to take it all in slowly.

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Learn to budget wisely

Traveling is not cheap. That does not mean that it is impossible to save up for, though. Instead of buying lunch out a few times a week, make your own at home instead. Instead of getting that morning latte, brew it at home instead. There are numerous ways to save- and even saving a few dollars here and there will add up in the long run. There are also numerous budgeting apps available, like Mint, that help you to put away some money towards a travel fund.

Avoid the peak travel seasons

It might seem like summer is synonymous with travel, but if you travel during off-seasons you are more likely to find cheap airfares, hotel deals and discounted local activities. Winter is a budget-friendly time to travel and you can enjoy your destination without the crowds. There are also shoulder seasons, which are time periods that fall between the high and low travel seasons associated with a particular destination. The crowds from the peak season have usually gone home by this time and the weather is ideal. Say you have had your eye on Mexico for awhile, but want to avoid the crowds and high prices. Mid-November is a great time to go, because it is long after hurricane season, but right before the madness of when the holiday crowds arrive.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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