Counting Down: An Experiment in Productivity

Screen Shot 2012-09-28 at 10.41.10 AMLife seems to creep up on me most of the time. Just a moment ago that deadline was a long way off and then suddenly it is here. This is especially true when a trip is coming up. How does this happen?

One of my favorite quotes is "Life is what happens while you are waiting for life to happen." When I just went to research the source I realized that this isn't actually a quote. John Lennon penned the lyrics, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." I'm not sure how I came up with my own mangled version of this quote but it still expresses the point. The big things that are coming up in our lives are closer than they appear. I am less than three weeks from departing for a month long trip to East Africa. (I will be writing more details about the trip soon). Trying to learn my lesson from the frantic last-second preparations I've made for previous trips, I decided to try a new experiment this time around. First I broke my trip preparations down into five major parts. I then laid them out in a timeline until the day I leave. This creates a countdown that lets me know exactly when I must have each part of my preparation done to be ready for the trip.

This kind of preparation may be more natural to others but it has been helpful and calming for me so far. Knowing how much time I have left to accomplish each preparatory objective has helped me to prioritize and to look forward to a trip that I will be ready for this time around. How do you prepare for big trips or events?