Do You Take the Necessary Time to Prepare?

I’m often accused of moving too fast and not preparing properly. Of course I always argue that this is not the case.  My latest trip to speak for a PMI chapter reinforced the fact that I have to stop and prepare better than I currently do.


Twice during this trip, I found myself behind the eight ball and thus in a very stressful situation. In the first case it was an unusual circumstance but one I could have avoided if I was paying a little bit more attention.


PrepareI flew from Toronto to Chicago and rented a car to drive to South Bend, Indiana where the Michiana PMI chapter is located.   On arrival in Chicago I set my watch back one hour. The two hour drive to South Bend was easy and uneventful. My dinner speech required me to be somewhere other than my hotel by 5:30 pm.  I really wanted a quick tour of The University of Notre Dame so I left the hotel at 4:15 with plenty of time for a tour and to reach my destination. A fluke discussion with the front desk about directions revealed my big mistake. The Michiana area is on Eastern Standard Time not Central Standard Time like Chicago. I had no idea that I should have adjusted my watch once again as I crossed into the Michiana region. I did not get a chance to tour Rudy’s alma mater but I did make my speech just in time. Lucky this round.


Same trip one day later and I figured I could navigate my way back to Chicago O’Hare Airport without assistance. A typical guy thing. But I learned my lesson. One wrong turn and I added over an hour to my trip as I found myself stop and go through downtown Chicago.  Once again I got lucky and made my flight in time.


Travelers reading this will understand that preparation is the key to survival for road warriors. I am learning the hard way right now.


No matter what we do, we need to stop and prepare. On that same trip to Chicago I ran into a friend who got to talking to me about a book called ‘The Checklist Manifesto’. He told a wonderful story about the simplicity and power of a simple checklist. I admit I have not run out yet to get the book but I have now created the checklist for every trip I take going forward.  It includes maps, a check on time zones, and my pajamas.  Yes I also forgot my pajamas that trip.


Slow down, make a checklist and think outside the norm as to what might go wrong. I’m thinking I can avoid a lot of the stress that I am causing myself right about now.


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