10 tricks for frequent travellers

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Even a simple day trip for business brings out the best in me. Travel is my introspection time, reading time, sketching time and learning time. I tend to shut out the world and immerse myself in me. A bubble envelops itself around me and I tune into my innermost thoughts. This is my kaizen space where I connect with my personal SWOT, where I do my internal housekeeping, reflect and fine tune my journey. This is the time where I check my map and calibrate the compass.

I tend to follow a pattern of simple habits so my mind is uncluttered on the journey. This is what I do.

1.Pack the day before
I ensure my bags are set early and everything is in place well before I have to leave. I also have a clear mental picture of what I will be wearing on the day.

2.Travel light
I make sure I have value engineered what leaves with me on the trip. Over past experience, I know what is needed and what isn’t. Most importantly, when I travel alone I never check in my baggage. I plan around my cabin baggage and never carry more.

3.The right luggage
I prefer soft luggage that doesn’t add excess weight. Always with wheels so I am not carrying it myself. I prefer day bags with many compartments and pockets so each place can have its designated items.

4.Repetition
Packing and placing every item I travel with in the same place in my bag helps to access everything easily. There’s a compartment for my passport and ticket, for the book I will read, chargers, money, lap top, etc etc.

5.Prepare for security check
This I find an underrated skill which can really help ease your mind and save time. I make sure all my metallic objects (watch, wallet, belts, phone etc) stay in my bag till after the check. I try and use a slip in shoe even for formal wear so I can weave in an out faster. All liquid items are always under 100ml.

6.Simple food and hydration
I try and completely avoid airline food on short flights and snack on fruit and drink a lot of water. Travel food used to leave me feeling bloated and sluggish.

7.The right music
When I am traveling I listen to lounge music on a high quality headphone with noise cancellation features. It helps me shut the world out and works as a wonderful catalyst for energizing my thoughts.

8.Mind mapping
When thoughts explode and ideas are bombarding me, I use the Mind Node app to capture my ideas. I find this the simplest and most effective way to keep my planning at the same speed of my thinking. I have 100s of mind maps on all kinds of subjects which then keeps my brain clutter free.

9. Books, the perfect companion
When I am traveling I carry books which are non fiction. My companion is a self help or business book centering around an area or issue which I am grappling. I also love scouring airports for new books. I buy faster than I can read and I know it’s an investment that can’t go bad.

10.immigration
Simple things like memorizing and remembering your passport number, issue and expiry date can save time at the airport or on a flight. At immigration counters my eyes search for sections which have 2 personnel managing one line. These lines move much faster and usually there’s always one such counter closer to the end. I also place my ticket within the concerned visa page so it’s easier for the officer to find it.

Besides these, some other ideas are to ensure my pockets are empty in the flight so I am comfortable. I carry gum always for overnight trips, do power maps if the flight is in the wee hours and I have meetings on arrival. I also pack based on how I unpack.

And now I can probably add blogging in my free time to that list!!

The coolest tool for thinking clearly- mind mapping

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One of the most powerful tools that has helped me think really fast and declutter my mind has been mind mapping.

I create simple and detailed mind maps for almost every aspect of my life. I have mind maps for goals, company vision, team planning, client briefs, holiday plans, health goals, web site maps, workflow planning and a 100 other things. Using mind maps have allowed me to accomplish in a fraction of the usual time that work would taken me ages, because it immediately structures my thoughts. It allows me to organise information and moreover my notes can almost keep up with my speed of thinking and unrelated chains of thought.

What are mind maps and what is mindmapping.

A term that was coined and then detailed by Tony Buzan in the 60s, mind mapping is a process of organizing your thoughts visually and organically as opposed to the linear manner of listing tasks and thoughts. Mind maps break down ideas and thoughts into graphical representation that allows for total clarity.
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I have had the good fortune thanks to Right Selection to attend his workshops and learn with him. Our team and also my daughter attended and it was an eye opener. He also subscribes that we use a lot of color and visuals that stimulate the mind. He has written 100s of books on the subject and many deal with the subject of thinking for kids.

Mind mapping is also a brilliant tool for children to use for learning and this ensures they never ever forget a lesson or learning. My daughter even uses it even to plan her holiday activities and she lists out tasks and goals to achieve.

There are quite a few apps that are available and softwares which are also downloadable from tony buzans site, however I personally found “mind node” the best and easiest among the ones I tried. The other apps are “simple node”, “imindmap” and “Ithoughts” which is a paid app for (approximately 9$ on iTunes).

I found some examples of mind maps from the web which show how they can be used for planning, brainstorming, note taking, education, strategy, research and basic thinking.

Try it, it will change your life!

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