Step 1: Panic.
You’re going to be away for upwards of three days! What will you do if you come home and all the stuff you haven’t managed to sort out over the last 2 – 12 months isn’t done? I know. It’s unthinkable. Fortunately, the few days before you leave for your trip is the window you’ve been waiting for to finish all of those things!
- Maybe you’re being overcharged for your cable package. Check.
- What is up with that one friend who never emails back anymore? Definitely sort that out.
- Remember to make appointments with your dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, mechanic, couples counselor, dog walker, personal trainer, local wino, grocery bagger and that homeless guy who lives on the corner.
- Send thank you cards for last Christmas’ gifts. Send thank you cards for the Christmas before last while you’re at it.
- Have a look at your calendar. Isn’t someone’s birthday coming up in a couple of months? Think about what restaurant would be the best for dinner that night.
- Remember that corner of paper placemat where you wrote down the email address of your fourth grade teacher when you ran into that friend at that restaurant six months ago? I wonder where that is.
Step 2: Compound your panic.
Now that you’ve tapped your basic anxiety package, it’s time to take it up a notch.
Some questions to get you started:
- Do you like your job? Really? Are you sure?
- What about your haircut?
- Your weight?
- Your friends?
- Your therapist?
- Your apartment?
- Your laptop?
If you hesitated on a firm “yes” to any of these, now is the time to come up with a complex, multi-month plan to sort that out. Use a spreadsheet as necessary.
Step 3: Sit down with your calendar.
Now that you have a comprehensive list of all the perfectly reasonable things you want to accomplish before you get on the plane, you need to make sure you have time to address each and every one of them.
You have five days before you go and, if you have a day job that leaves about four hours max per day to take care of your list. That comes out to roughly 24 hours if you add in a little extra effort on the weekend.
Keep in mind that 20 of those hours will be spent prepping for the actual trip – packing, picking up snacks, calling a cab, taking sedatives – so if you have 72 things on your list, that breaks out to 18 things per hour, or 3 things every 10 minutes.
Remember to group like things together for maximum efficiency. E.g. find a new therapist, find new orange juice glasses and find a new paradigm would be a great, do-able 10-minute combo block.
Step 4: Thank me.
It’s OK. You don’t have to. I’m here to help. Don’t you feel so much more relaxed about your trip?