Time Management for Travelers

I was listening to Time Management lecture by Randy Pausch last night again.

He talked about that time management matrix created by Stephen Covey. I fell in sleep wondering if that matrix has any relevance to travelers like me.

time management matrix

 

The matrix is about priority. The point is instead of doing items in quadrant 3 (Not Important but Urgent), we should focus on items in quadrant 2 (Important but Not Urgent). Most of us are doing the exact opposite, always carried away by “urgent” tasks. (Of course, quadrant 1 comes first.)

I think I know what it means in business setting, but what it means to travelers?

 

1. Important and Urgent

This is easy one. Visiting places where I wanted to go is the first item. If you are in Australia, and your dream place is Ayers Rock, it is urgent task for you (you never know when you can come back again). Sometimes you meet people, both local people and fellow travelers who you really like. Meeting and interacting people, while you are in the same area, is another important and urgent item.

 

4. Not Important and Not Urgent

Let’s skip 2 and 3, because quadrant 4 is much easier.

Here we have all the junk. Things like watching TV, mindless Internet surfing, checking news and SNS sites. These are all fine activities, but we tend to do it too much and too often.

 

2. Important but Not Urgent

Planning my travel. As much as I enjoy flexible traveling, advanced planning is often the key for saving extra yen and leading to higher satisfaction.

Other activities that I love to do is reading and writing, and they fall in here. I can read or write any other places and time, but then I can forever putting them off. Just like I used to put off this long-term traveling.

 

3. Urgent but Not Important

Realizing this one was a huge aha for me, and I think by carefully avoiding this, I will have better chance leading “successful” travel.

The following might sound familiar.

“I have come this far, and I heard there was this famous place around. I don’t really care about it, but why not check it out while I am still here?”

This is harmless, or maybe encouraged, if you are on short term vacation. Or maybe this kind of extensive traveling is exactly what you are passionate about.

In my case, if I keep checking out every little place in every single place I visit, my brain will explode. List will never end! It might sound like fun first, but it can be really exhausting. Of course I will have to sacrifice time for reading.

 

So… what did I learn?

I will be more selective about travel experiences. I will still stay trying new strange places sometimes, but probably I will avoid visiting places just because it is popular destination. More importantly, I should stop feeling a sense of guilty while reading my book, when I could close my book and explorer area and find new experience instead.

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