Travel Pack

August 30, 2009

Some people love it, others hate it: Packing before going on holiday or travel in general.

I love to travel and gathered several interesting tips for you, also suitable for business traveling.

Travel TipsThere are several things you can do before leaving home. Others are more adequate during travel or on the actual trip and finally some tips are about the first steps upon your arrival. In order to optimize this article, I created 3 parts, one for each phase of traveling.

So this article focuses on 12 useful tips before you are actually leaving.

1. Create a full backup of your portable. Use your corporate backup system or save your data on a spare harddisk, dvds, etc. Probably the best way is to perform an online backup (I personally use Mozy.com).
2. Scan all your important documents (flight tickets, hotel vouchers…) and make pictures of your passport, drivers license, credit cards, etc. Create a compressed file (zip, rar…) and encrypt it (or at least put a password on it!). Email this file to yourself, so that you can access it through your webmail. Very handy in case some of your documents get stolen or lost! Lifesaver! Extra how-to info
3. Bank token : Some time ago, my bank decided to change the online payment policy. Every time I want to book and pay something online and using my credit card for it, I need a special token (Digipass) to approve the transaction. Regardless of the fact that a lot more secure and more efficient measures exist, I now need to take this token with me, everywhere I go. Quite ridiculous, but if I want to re-book or pay something online with my credit card, I can’t get it done without (unless I go for Paypal, but it’s not always accepted yet) that token.
4. Extra plastic bag : pretty handy whenever you need to carry something extra with you. I know that some shops give you one when you buy something. I sometimes take 2 with me. A small, light-version and a more heavy-duty model. You can also use it to put your wet clothes in (I like to swim before going back home) or an extra souvenir or … It can be handy to use these when your hand-luggage is slightly over-weighed or too big, just put it in an extra plastic bag. You’ ll get away with it in most cases!
5. Pocket change. I always advise to take with you some pocket change, both your own currency (flight delayed?) as the one of your destination. If you have a little amount of the local currency with you (like 100 or 200 €, £ or $), you can immediately leave the airport when you arrive. Otherwise you first need to change money there. Always bad rates! And even while you are waiting for your suitcases, you can buy a drink or snack or give a tip to the bellboys, etc. You pay them in their currency, which is cheaper than to do that in your own currency!
6. Bring your business cards : I agree, a classic one, but often forgotten! Even on holidays, you never know who you run into. Can be the deal or prospect you’ve been waiting for!
7. Save weight : think twice before leaving home : take out extra loyalty cards, leave all keys besides your home keys (and carkeys?). You won’t need them at your destination! Also extra papers like bills, drivers licence (if unlikely you’ll rent-a-car), coupons… can be taken out of your wallet. Unnecessary to take them with you! Some people even have 2 wallets : home-version and travel-version.
8. Credit Cards : 2 types of credit card is always handy: Visa, MC, AmEx… If one doesn’t work, the other probably will. Happened to me! By the way, in some countries there is a significant difference between Visa and Mastercard, just that you know…
9. Park your car at airport? Make a picture of where you park your car. When you return just review the picture. Don’t loose time looking for your car…now where did I park it? Right!
10. Inform neighbours, family and friends : Let your neighbours and family know you’ll be traveling (if no one’s home). Also let the Police know. They make extra surveillance rounds in some areas if they know you’re on holiday…You might even ask your neighbours or family to empty your letter box, making it less obvious for thiefs that you are not at home!
11. Visa required : Is there a visa required for the country you travel to? Better check this upfront. You don’t want to arrive at your destination without the proper papers to enter the country. At least a lot of timewasting and in some cases you are not allowed to enter the country.
12 Spare battery : It’s always handy to have a spare battery for your mobile. Whenever there is no plug at hand, you can at least still communicate with the outside world.  Of course, a spare battery for your laptop helps too 🙂

What interesting travel tips do you have ? I invite you to share them here. Thanks!

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Create a new folder

August 29, 2009

Every time I am surprised so many people are working with an elaborated folder structure. Yes, I also use them, but in a slimmed down version. I don’t have a structure that is at least 8 or 10 levels deep. How do I find stuff? I use search engines, like Google Desktop.

But, hey, this post is about you, not me! So, I reckon you are holding on to that fancy folder structure of yours, right?

Most people open their Windows explorer and go to menu “File” and then choose “New”. The next step is to opt for the first item on the menu : “Folder”. You then type in the name of the folder. Finally you (double-)click on it and you arrive in that directory. I agree, this takes at least 10 seconds for most people. Imagine you are creating a structure with 10 directories, each with 10 sub-directories. This means you are wasting 10 * 10* 10 seconds = 1.000 seconds. Yes, this is more than 15 minutes just creating folders! And I bet most of you have at least this amount of folders…

Yes, there is a shortcut too. In the battle of keyboard against mouse, here are some keyboard shortcuts to speed up this process : ALT + F, ALT + W, ALT + F, Type name of the folder, Enter, Enter.

mdAxelIf this is still not enough, there’s another shortcut on top of this one. Now we’re talking about another Genius Shortcut 🙂 mdAxel is a little program that you download on your Windows XP computer (no feedback about Vista yet) and install it. Just assign a hotkey (=shortcut) to it (like ALT + F1). Everytime you create a new folder, just use that hotkey. Name the folder and press Enter. The folder is created and you are in it immediately. That’s it! You see, easy does it!

Thanks Chris for pointing this out!


Triplet Challenge?

August 28, 2009

As a creative person, I often come up with new ideas, textbytes and just a lot of fun things. I just realised that triplets play an important role in our life. Take my logo for instance, a great C-triplet: Create, Connect & Contribute. I wrote about these before…although I added a fourth one later on.

Now, I’ve set myself a new challenge :

Create a full alphabet of inspiring triplets!

So, the letter C is covered. What’s next?

E?

“Enlighten, Entertain & Educate”

Enlighten. It might sound logical to everyone I know, but not for me, until today. I was contemplating on yesterday’s event “In Shape for September” (Dutch), when it occured to me that I am really helping people by enlightening them. I show people the light! They are often lost … in the dark, some even unaware of where they are. So, I’ll shine my light and help them to come into the light again, so they really get it. You see, that’s one of my key drivers, the joy I get from people “getting it” and from inspiring them, so they become enlightened.

Entertain is a word that I feel is inspired by Tonia. On a great terrace somewhere in France, when I was visiting her on her camino, I suggested to play a little game. We ask each other alternative questions in series of 3. One of the questions she asked me was : Entertainer or Trainer? Being a fast thinker, I immediately created a new word : entertrainer, but that was avoiding the answer and besides this word already exists. Oh, yes, I chose Trainer. She agreed for the professional part, but among friends she feels like I am bit of an entertainer too. I always make people laugh, especially her (and I love it!:-) ). Yes, it’s about telling jokes or having fun with practical jokes. “Enjoy Every Day” is my motto, remember? And yes, I sometimes “Go Bananas” too! I admit 🙂 She says that a lot of our friends really like my sense of humor. Ok, I didn’t know that. Thank you! Now, lately, I get the same feedback from most of my trainings, that people not only enjoy it and learn a lot, but also love the fun moments in it (I am not sharing them here, you have to be there to be in the “know”…). I must be doing something right 🙂

Educate. Well, I already mentioned this earlier. I want to change the world. I started with myself. By the way, the results are amazing 🙂 And my life is also about contributing to others. I used to have a lot of criticism about the educational system. Instead of staying in that negative energy, I changed it into a positive drive to help schoolteachers, trainers and other coaches as well. How? By sharing my Genius Shortcuts and by providing faster, more efficient ways of learning. Who would have thought that I’d be in education? I didn’t. Yet, I love it! The great thing is that people actually change for the better. And that’s beautiful, because they pass it on again (and again), so we are all improving the world, one step at a time.

I hope you enjoyed my explanation of the E-triplet. Curious? Yes, I am curious about your feedback on these and of course also about your personal E-triplet. Ready to share it? Please do. You might change someone else’s mind or view on this world too…


Extremely Proud

August 21, 2009

My wife ToniaAs many of you know, my wife Tonia is on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) with her backpack. It’s been an exceptional adventure for her so far. And you know what? She passed the 1.500 km earlier this week! Can you believe that? 1.500 km on foot? Needless to say that I am extremely proud about her!

Here are a couple of reasons why she’s going on this trip :

  • Contemplating about a new direction in her professional life
  • Facing the fear of solitude
  • Facing the fear of asking something to people she doesn’t know (introvert!)
  • Becoming more independent and self-reliant
  • Reflect on who she really is. She wants to become an even better person.

To me, she’s almost the perfect woman. Wow! I love her!

So, if you are loosing track of who you really are or you have burn out/bore out or just want to start over, then taking a hike is probably a great way to get you started. I am not saying you must go on a 2.500 km hike as well. At least 1 month would be an excellent start. Oh stop it! Those are just excuses. Anyone can do it! So, can you!

I’ve met several people on my own (rather modest) trip (yes, only 800 km) two years ago, who also had children, a mortgage,  no preparation and a lot of physical challenges… If people who can’t even see well (lost her glasses), who are over 85 years old or who are terminally ill (with only 3 months to live) can walk this trip, then probably all of your reasons are just excuses. Well, if you would like to settle for mediocraty and the life you are having right now, then please do. If, however, you are longing for a magical, unforgettable, one-of-a-kind life, then it is time to step up and break your pattern! Just get up, out of your chair and start planning. Action is the keyword here… There is so much you can do! And if not for yourself, do it for your loved ones.

I know, I might sound rude. This might just be what you have been waiting for…someone to tell you that you can achieve anything! And it’s not falling from the sky onto your lap. You have to do something to reach it. So, once more, I invite you to reflect on your current life and dream about the life you could have. Setup an action plan and put it to work. A few weeks from now, major changes might have occured. And remember : today is the first day of the rest of your life! Spend it well!

PS : if you need some inspiration of what can happen to you, just read Tonia’s blog (in Dutch) or search for other people who went on the Camino to Compostela…


Get Shorty

August 20, 2009

Inspired by Jay Bear‘s article on “Get Shorty – The Elevator Pitch is Dead“, I set myself a challenge in creating a 120-character pitch for my business.

Yes, 120 characters, because this allows for re-tweets (RT), in case people ask what it is I do.

So, here we go:

“Saving professionals 2 hours/day with Genius Shortcuts through invigorating speeches, training & coaching.Social Media 2”

“Inspirational coaching, training & speeches 2 free up 2 hours/day for professionals using my Genius Shortcuts.Easy & Fun”

What do you think is the best one? Do they describe exactly what I do? Thanks for your feedback!

And what is your story? Send me your 120 characters, if you dare 🙂


Lost Generation

August 19, 2009

Brilliant and an inspiration to all of us. Watch closely how the negative is reversed and becomes beautifully positive! Are we really a Lost Generation? Of course not, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for 🙂


Sandwich Tool

August 18, 2009

Ever wondered what’s happening on the other side of the world?

Actually, where exactly is the other side of the world? Rigth! Zefrank has come up with the sandwich tool to give you the exact point on the other side of the world, using Google Maps.

Check it out for yourself:

Zefrank.com Sandwich Tool