Lifestyle 13 July 2017
I've traveled over a million miles. Most of those miles were for business travel, and with a carry-on suitcase.
Over these miles and years traveled, I've developed a packing system that has helped me pack for a bevy of occasions from investor meetings, to trade shows, to manufacturing facility tours. I've dutifully followed this system to pack for the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference and to the United State of Women Summit.
And I have never checked a bag.
My book, How To Pack, outlines my entire packing method in detail. These five rules are the cornerstones of the method and will help you keep calm and carry on for your next work trip.
Make a list, check it twice
Writing a list seems obvious, and most of us just don't write one when it comes to packing. Sometimes, we get it right. We pack everything we need, zip up the suitcase with ease, and start our trip feeling confident and on top of everything.
Other times, we forget to pack our underwear or the proper work shoes. We frantically throw random items in our suitcase 2 minutes before jumping in a cab. Stress overwhelms us, and we find it difficult to get back on track and focus on the goal of the trip.
By writing a list a week in advance, you can plan the perfect outfits and give yourself ample time to get them laundered and mended. You can enjoy a cup of coffee and breakfast the morning you leave instead of sitting on your suitcase to zip it closed. Doing the former sets you up for success for your trip.
Pack not-so-basic basics
Basic isn't a bad thing. Some may view it as boring. I see basic as essential, classic, and versatile. It's this definition of basic that filters the clothes I select and pack.
I want tailored, powerful pieces that I can wear at least twice. I pick pieces and outfits that make me feel confident and ready to tackle the world.
Such items are simple, unfussy, and comfortable. My tried and true basics are ponte pants (stretchy, but tailored), collarless blouses, and sheath dresses that can be dressed up with a bold necklace or a great pair of heels.
Pre-pack your toiletries
No matter how frequently you travel, pre-packing your toiletries is the ultimate time-saving and stress-relieving tip. Never again will you be rushing to decant your essential products into tiny bottles right before leaving or having to pay significantly more to buy contact lens solution at the airport. You'll always have this one part of your packing routine completed. Hop over to Amazon or Sephora and order your favorite products - dental, skin, face, hair - in TSA-approved sizes. Invest in a plastic, zippered quart-sized bag. Not only will it last longer than a Ziploc bag, you'll be able to fit more products inside. At the end of every trip, refill or replace the empty bottles and set the bag aside. You'll be ready to go.
Streamline your shoes
Three pairs of shoes are all you'll ever need for a trip, especially a business trip. A classic pair of heels, a sharp pair of flats, and sneakers, for the requisite workouts.
After clothing, shoes occupy the most space in your luggage. They're also the items requiring the most thought when selecting which to pack. Style and comfort are top priorities, and a great pair of shoes can elevate your outfit.
I like one pair to be a bold color or a bright pattern that complements your neutral outfits. To contrast, I also like a classic style that will always be safe. If fitness is important to you, it's worth investing in a pair of sneakers exclusively for travel. Nike FlyKnit or New Balance Minimus styles pack nearly flat while providing incredible support for strenuous workouts.
I recommend packing your shoes in their own bags - either a roomy shoe bag for all your shoes or a small drawstring one for each shoe - to keep the rest of your belongings clean and protected from the soles of your shoes.
Pick the right bags
What you pack your belongings in is as important as how you pack them. A lightweight suitcase with a solid handle and sturdy wheels can make walking through the airport a breeze, while a bulky duffel or a loose wheel can throw you off - literally.
Similarly, your personal item is equally important. A structured tote with lots of pockets will organize your belongings beautifully, while a cavernous tote can become a black hole and make it impossible to find your ID while going through security.
I select my bags over a week in advance, and inspect them to make sure they're in good enough condition to travel. There is nothing worse than having a suitcase break while en route, and having to purchase and repack your belongings while trying to make your flight. I would know. This actually happened to me while traveling in Asia.
It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.