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Five Things to Pack for Travel

Five Things to Pack for Travel

I’m on my way to Stockholm, Sweden to organize PodCamp Europe, and I’m a little anxious as I’ve never traveled outside of North America before. Within my country, I’ve put on thousands and thousands of miles over the last several months, and I’ve come to realize there’s a few things I want to take with me every time I head out for a trip. Here’s my plan: I’ll tell you five things, and you add your must-haves in the comments section. Deal?

Power Strip– As a geek/business traveler, I’m often surprised that hotel rooms aren’t tricked out with 100 free plugs for me to stuff my gadgets into for a charge. I think this PowerSquid Surge Suppressor is cool, because if your chargers have bulky ends like mine, this fixes that issue.

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Quart-sized Plastic Zip Bags– I use these for a lot of things. I keep one for my expense receipts. I use another to store extra business cards. I keep a few energy bars in a third. In a pinch, these zip bags can come in real handy for a lot of reasons.

Baby Wipes– Not just for babies any more, a few of the unscented “just like cloth” type found in any baby products aisle at a grocery store tucked into , wait for it, a one-quart zip bag make a million useful saves for me while on a trip. Use them to wipe up after snacks on the run, or to clean up spilled coffee. Use them to spot clean clothes. Plenty more uses, I’m sure you’ll find on your own.

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Duct tape– I don’t mean that you should take a roll, but instead take about 10 feet wrapped upon itself into a little rectangle about the size of a wallet. Use this for instant lint brushing, for hacking curtains shut to better darken the room, for hanging signs, for taping down your laptop cord at a conference, for mending damaged luggage, and about 3,149 other reasons, as well. (**Caution: taking a full roll on your carry-on might cause a security issue.)

Energy Bars– Meal replacement bars, or cereal bars, of whatever kinds of calories you can store simply and access when you need a boost is what I’m talking about here. Once, my plane was delayed after we’d boarded, and the delay stretched past an hour. I’d rushed to catch the plane, skipping breakfast, and here we were without any service (because they weren’t getting out those food carts in case we miraculously were cleared to get out of there). Energy bars to the rescue. These also save you from eating something horrible, nutrition-wise, just because you’re a captive somewhere. I don’t o anywhere without a few energy bars in my bag.

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Your Turn!

What are a few MUST-HAVE travel items that you pack away every time you go on a trip? Hack my suitcase, people! I’m heading overseas tomorrow, and I might just need your help.

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Chris Brogan blogs at [chrisbrogan.com]. He is co-Founder of PodCamp, and community developer for the Video on the Net conference.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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