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7 Tips to Plan Your Dream Vacation

7 Tips to Plan Your Dream Vacation

Vacation season is almost upon us, and chances are you’re already looking forward to your family’s trip this year. Even though vacations are supposed to be relaxing, sometimes it’s so difficult to balance scheduling, accommodations, financing and more, that your dream vacation can turn into a real downer.

Don’t let that happen to you! With a little preparation, you can have the perfect vacation you’ve always wanted. Read these 7 tips to get started planning your relaxation destination today!

Tip #1: Location

Okay, the first step is choosing the location of your family vacation. To do this, take the following into consideration:

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  • Budget: How far you can go and how long you can stay all depend on your budget. Long, extravagant trips are great, but it’s better to be financially responsible! More than this, if you’re traveling internationally, research the exchange rates between countries. Smart travelers stretch their dollar by going to international destinations where the exchange rates favor them.
  • Weather: Not all paradise locations have ideal weather all year long. Be sure to check the weather patterns of your chosen destination, making sure there aren’t expected natural disasters like droughts or hurricanes.
  • Language Barriers: Going off the beaten path for an adventurous vacation in an exotic location sounds amazing, but make sure you can communicate with the locals before you go, whether it be in broken phrases you learn yourself (better than nothing) or through a translator (best option).

Tip #2: Occupy the Kids

Everyone adores their children, but they can be a tricky challenge on vacation. Many parents have found themselves babysitting their child’s vacation experience instead of having their own. To avoid this, plan ahead to include plenty of child-friendly activities and especially anything supervised that you may be able to leave them for a few hours.

One of the worst mistakes you can make is showing up to the hotel room without an exciting schedule already planned for the kids, with some alone-time written in for you.

Tip #3: Skip the Season

If you’re anything like us, crowded beaches and streets flooded with tourists are a real turn off on vacation. As hypocritical as it sounds, it’s just easier to enjoy your time without so many other travelers in the way. To avoid tourist traffic and even snag better prices on travel and accommodations, consider traveling in the off-season.

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The off-season is based on the country you’re going to, not your own, though travel prices differ on both sides. Be sure to research why that area is in an off-season, as it can sometimes be an indication of poor weather or some other deterrent.

Tip #4: Pack Smart

The less you bring, the less likely you are to lose something in transit. Plus, nothing is worse than having to lug around huge suitcases and tote bags everywhere they go. Smart packing includes preparing for the local weather at your vacation destination, as well as bringing emergency items like extra cell-phone batteries. Don’t bring anything disposable that you can get where you’re going

Tip #5: Unplug. Seriously.

Vacations are a chance for you to forget everything about daily life, including your responsibilities and current events. Make a strong appeal to yourself and your family to unplug from mobile devices and computers on the trip. Any time you feel the urge to post a picture from the beach or check your email, remember the reason you planned this trip to begin with and put the phone back down.

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Tip #6: Set a Goal

This may seem to cross the line of relaxing vacation with militancy, but hear us out. Setting a goal for your vacation is the perfect way to give you and your family wants as a collective unit, without depending on rigid schedules or tour-by-number experiences. With a goal in mind beforehand, you’ll find yourself more open to spontaneous adventures, and your family working together to achieve a common bond.

A problem families often face, where everyone has their own idea about what the vacation should be, results from not setting goals. You end up going in different directions or some people not being able to enjoy vacation. Discussing everyone’s expectations beforehand will go a long way.

Tip #7: Double-Check Everything!

There’s a lot of paperwork involved with planning a vacation, even if you do it all online. Double-check everything, including:

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  • Passports, licenses and registrations. You want all personal documentation in a safe, dry place that’s not accessible to thieves.
  • Call to check on your reservations before you go, including those to events.
  • Double- and triple-check with those who are taking care of your home or pets while you’re gone. Leave a detailed schedule and list for them to help things run smoothly.

Have an awesome vacation!

Whether your vacation is to the next county over, or all the way across the world, we’re sure you’re going to have a great time. Make sure you’re well prepared now so you can enjoy some real relaxation when you’re finally there!

Featured photo credit: Take Vacations via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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