Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Anatomy Of A Plan - Mike's Picks



Typically Saturdays are used for yard work. I still have a ton of leaves to move before March and with the past few Saturdays, I've been rained out. Actually, today I'm being snowed out, but just enough to keep me inside again. I'm really not complaining. This is the one day in the week where I can really unwind, watch my favorite tech shows, work on an article for Rootzwiki, read, and occasionally fall asleep on the futon for a few minutes. 

Today, I did task myself with planning an upcoming trip to Virginia Beach. There's a concert we've both been looking forward to and I'm going to take time to observe my last birthday in my 30's. Yes, I'm going to be pushing the big 40 next year, so I'm going to savor every second until then. I'll focus on that crisis next year when it happens. 

Of course tech is going to play a role in my agenda planning. For the past few years, I have been using Tripit to coordinate my itinerary  It's a simple tool that we can use on our browsers and on our mobile devices. With easy sharing, I can collaborate with Janine to make sure we're both taking these days and getting the most out of them. Just remember to take some time and plan not to plan anything. The purpose of getting away is to spend some time not really doing anything scheduled, but relaxing or doing something fun and unusual. 

I did an article on some mobile applications that work well with Tripit here (Android Activist). I'm only going to focus on Tripit here and highlight how I'm using it to plan my time away from home. 

In the past, I have mostly used Tripit to plan business travel. Sometimes work takes me out of town for a couple days and those that do business travel know there are often very tight itineraries  I have to make sure I'm at the airport in plenty time, I need to know the airline and gate I'm flying from, I need to know my arrival info, any transportation to the hotel, the hotel itself, the meeting schedule, and then the trip home. It's easy enough to email confirmations of lodging, travel, and the business meetings into Tripit. 

Once everything is sent there, I just go to the site or the app to add notes, put in times for dinner or lunch meetings, fill in some time blanks, and more. I even put in times to call family back home to let people know I am well. The finished product is this perfect little task manager that allows me to make changes on the fly, or just sit back and know that I will not be at a point where I do not know where I'm supposed to go or where I'm supposed to be.

On vacations, it's a lot less exhaustive. The day of our concert will be our biggest itinerary day, so I have scheduled departure times from Richmond, arrival in Virginia Beach, the location and check in information of the hotel, time to unpack/rest, and time to grab dinner before seeing the show. 

The rest of the vacation is not as intensive, so I've only listed dining destinations and information about the day that we'll likely spend in Williamsburg shopping. But best of all, this information is easy to access, change, or follow without me sitting in the car confused about what to do or where to go. 

And as we've seen with my posts recently, this introvert likes to have his box filled with plans so he can focus on coloring outside of the lines and really enjoy his days off. I'm really looking forward to some time off too. Janine and I have not stopped working really since our wedding last October.