Tag Archives: planning

So you’re heading to RealWorld – – now what?

realworld

This upcoming weekend marks my 5th RealWorld Conference.  For those not in the know, RealWorld is the conference specifically dedicated to RealPage and their partners where we showcase the latest developments in the industry, the product improvements being delivered/developed and most important, thank our partners for their continued partnership.  It is 3 days of networking, learning, previews and fun but let’s face it, it is also long days, longer evenings and tight schedules.  In order to make the most of the sessions and travel fit, you have to have a strategy to thrive.

Over the last 5 years, I have developed a strategy to make the most of both the conference material and my health while I am at RealWorld.  So here are my RealWorld rules to live by:

Tip #1: Plan ahead:

I cannot over emphasize this one enough; Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.  If your plan is showing up at the conference and getting a workout in ‘whenever there is time’……not going to happen.  There are just too many great options of sessions to attend and fellow RealPage users to meet.  If you don’t plan ahead, your workout is not going to get done.

Plan your day and block out your workout time (if you haven’t downloaded the App yet, do it here now.  It is an awesome tool).  How much time do you need?  Where is the gym?  Is the conference center so far away from your room that you will be walking 20,000 steps each day anyways?  As I look at my calendar for this upcoming week, I know I have to get my workouts in in the morning or they are simply not going to happen, my afternoons are filled with speaking engagements and evenings with great events like visiting to Seussville.  For me, it means I will be running early and hitting the gym late (see tip #3).

Tip #2: Stay hydrated:

water bottle refill

You know you should normally be drinking 8 glasses of water a day.  Well if you are going to be walking more than you normally do and potentially imbibing on an alcoholic drink or two in the evening, I am going to recommend you up your water intake from the standard 8 glasses.  Trust me, you will thank me when you are waking up on days 2 & 3 of the conference.  Now this is where planning comes in again.  I find that it is a very rare thing to find a conference center that keeps the water pitchers/bottles full throughout the conference.

SO BRING YOUR OWN!!

You may not always be able to find a nice chilled bottle of FIJI but you can usually find a water fountain to fill up your own bottle.  And if you are anything like me, you find an empty water bottle strangely motivational.

Tip #3: Recharge:

weary traveler

This will look different for each of us but I find I need a point in my day to recharge more than just my phone.  For me, it is time in the gym.   I can get my head on straight and work all the kinks out that I am feeling from standing all day.  For others it is a power nap in the room, others it is 15 minutes in the sun out by the pool or overlooking the bay.  Whatever it is that recharges and helps your re-center your mindset, make sure you have time built in each day to accomplish it.

Tip #4: Eat well & Eat often:

image

Make sure you take the time to eat like you should.  Do not sacrifice the quality of your diet because you need to rush somewhere.  Stop by the store on the way to the hotel and grab some snacks for the room (don’t get me started on the mini-bar options for $10 bucks each).  Put a bar in your purse.  Throw an apple in your bag for later in the day.  Your body needs fuel to thrive vs. survive.  Give it what it needs.

Bonus Tip:  Most hotels that host conferences have pretty good gyms.  Gyms where they actual stock fruit for the taking.

Tip #5: Have fun:

Dr. Seuss

If this is your first RealWorld Conference, you are in for a treat.  It is a blast, especially the theme party on Monday night – which this year is celebrating the life and works Dr. Seuss.  If you don’t have an outfit picked out, I cannot encourage you enough to do so.

wolverine AB

The picture above was from RealWorld 2 years ago when we had a Super Hero theme.  Every year people outdo themselves with their dress for the theme and I expect this year to be no different.  And yes, I will be dressed up…..and you can find out as what on Monday.

Time for me to go pack and finish my presentations but hopefully I will see you at RealWorld!!

The Dreaded Day Trip

I have a love/hate relationship with the ‘Day Trip’.  I love the way they look on the calendar.  Morning flight, midday meeting, return flight the same day and finally sleeping in my own bed, all within a single day.  Heck, I can even tell my lovely wife that I will be “home that day”

The problem is I do not live my life on paper

As I write this, I am sitting on the first flight out to Chicago.  I will also be on one of the evening flights back in to Dallas tonight.  Nearly 6 hours of travel time for a 4 hour meeting, of which I am only leading an hour of.  It is days like this that make me want to banish the ‘Day Trip’ from my calendar forever, or at least severely restricting the geographies I am willing to schedule these life sucking journeys to.

You have to have a strategy in place to stay RoadWarrior fit!!

There are so many pitfalls that the Day Trip puts in your path from a health and fitness perspective.  They really are just evil.  Let’s take a look at them and how to avoid them.

Disturbed Sleep Schedule:

For me at least, a Day Trip involves a very early flight (today’s departure time was 6:43 AM) and a late return (I am landing at 10:00 PM).  That meant I was up at 4:30 and will not be heading to bed until probably around midnight assuming that there are no delays heading home.  That makes for a very long day and more importantly, for very little sleep.  There are thousands of studies that show the importance of sleep to both physical and mental health.  I rarely get my full allotment of sleep before or after a day trip.

Coping Strategy – Get to bed early the night before

I know you saw that one coming and to be truthful, I suck at this one but it is a must.  You know you are not going to sleep on the plane so make sure you get your Z’s in the night before.  Need help making this happen, click here

Lack of Exercise:

I truly wish I was the type of person who got up early in the morning and exercised but alas, I am not.  The only times I work out in the morning is when I either have a late afternoon flight or the weekend (and even then we are not talking about early mornings).  Packing so much travel time in one day often means I am breaking the first rule of being RoadWarrior fit:

Rule #1: Do something, ANYTHING, everyday!!

When you are already scheduled to wake up at 4:30 it is really hard to set that alarm and stick to it another 30-60 minutes earlier.  3:30 wake-up call just to get an exercise session in?  C’mon, not happening.

Coping Strategy – Plan for the down time

There are times I have been able to work out on a day trip.  I have been known to walk airports for the hour before my flight.  I know which airlines clubs have fitness facilities in them and this trip I even packed my workout clothes and shoes to get a workout in at the Hilton in O’Hare (great gym that is accessible from the terminal) but in over a decade of travel, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE DONE THAT!!

hilton gym1

If you know you have a Day Trip in a particular week, plan to exercise around it.  None of us can or should do a true workout every day.  Your body needs down time to recover so use these days wisely.  Get a great workout in the day before (it will help you sleep also) and make sure you get one the next day.

Crazy Diet:

At 5:00 in the morning, I am not going to be breaking out the cookware to make the healthiest of breakfasts so I am usually grabbing something to go.  Now I am talking fruit and shakes, not Poptarts so let’s not get too crazy.  However that is usually followed up with a ‘working lunch’ (read: local sandwich shop or my favorite, Pizza) and a dinner at the airport.  Most of the time, this is breaking my last rule for staying RoadWarrior fit:

Rule #5:  Never eat somewhere that you could at home!!

In other words, I try and avoid the chains as they are about easily replicated food and very rarely about the quality nutrition we should be looking for.  That is not very easy to do when you are dining at the airport.  So very often I end up having a shake for breakfast, a protein bar for lunch (especially if I am presenting – it is really hard to present and eat at the same time) and another protein bar at dinner.  That may sound like the next fad diet but I can assure you, it is not good for you in the long run.

Coping Strategy – Get a good breakfast

You can have a great breakfast without waking the entire house up.  Prep your food the night before so it is ready to go in the morning.  I love breakfast tacos and these heat up in the microwave very easily.  Pair an English muffin smeared with Peanut Butter to a bowl of berries and greek yogurt.  You get the point but make sure this one meal is complete and at least you know you are starting the day well.

Sedentarism:

Yes, I just made that word up but take today as an example.  Between the car rides to and from the airports, two plane rides and the meeting with the client, I am sure I will be sitting for at least 12 hours today.  12 HOURS!!!  That is how you get DVT people, no really, it is.

Coping Strategy – Move every chance you get.

Pretty self explanatory.

It is Just Rude:

Picture for a moment my wife’s version of these trips.  She is awakened at 4:30 AM by me trouncing around the house getting ready to leave, the dogs waking up and being active with me.  She is then left to fend for herself with the boys all day including getting them ready and off to school, playing chauffer for various events, making and cleaning dinner, monitoring homework and being disciplinarian when needed.  Then at the end of the day, having me reenter life like the conquering hero right before (or sometimes well after) everyone heads off to bed.  Sounds like a great day, right?  Wrong.

Now, I understand the desire of parents of younger kids to be home in time to tuck their kids in to bed.  That also relieves some of the stress on your spouse if you can handle that portion of the day but my kids are teenagers.  I can assure you that they have NO DESIRE to have me tuck them in at night and the stressful part of the day is not bed time.

To put it simply, my wife hates Day Trips

Coping Strategy – Communicate

I have been known to just ask my wife if she would prefer a day trip or if I should just head out the night before.  I also try and make sure I have something in the crockpot that morning so that dinner is just that much easier for her.  Acknowledge that these trips are probably just as hard on your spouse as they are on you.  Believe me, they will appreciate the effort and acknowledgement.

So there is my argument against and my tips to help survive the Dreaded Day Trip.  I think everyone is healthier and happier if you can tag a night on somewhere (I prefer the front end of the trip) but if you can’t at least there are some ways to mitigate the damage.

Safe travels and I will see you on the road.

Failing to plan is planning to Fail

Sometimes I feel like all I do is plan to be on the road.  What clothes are clean?  What toiletries do I need to replace?  What’s the weather going to be like at the destination?  These are all things that readily run through my crazy road warrior head but the planning is not just limited to what I have to deal with, I also pay attention to what is going to happen back on the home front.

I am the one in the family who does the grocery shopping and meal planning.  It has become a bit of a Sunday tradition/therapy for me.  Sit in the morning with the coupons, see how much I can save while shopping and then spend the afternoon cooking one good meal to start the week as well as staples that can be thrown in the microwave throughout the week.

Where I have fallen short is not having a plan that is flexible and varied

Not to say the least about communicating that plan to my beautiful wife so that she might be able to execute on said plan.  I leave to eat restaurant meals throughout the week and leave the family at home with all kinds of ‘options’ but nothing solidified.  So in the bustle of wrestling practices, weightlifting, orchestra rehearsal, kickboxing and karate, the family is stuck grabbing whatever is ready in the fridge/pantry or making a Shakeology before racing out the door.  It is not the ideal and quite frankly, it is my failure.

You see, meal planning is not an issue for me.  I have no problem coming up with a plan for the week.  I also have no problem communicating it, where I lack is including creativity/variety in the plan.  I would eat the same thing all week without issue.  I enjoy structure and familiarity.  My family would appreciate eating something besides grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli though.  I needed a solution that met all of our needs.

So I themed each day of the week

This gives me the structure I work best within but challenges me to vary the menu from week to week.  So here you go, here is my weekly ‘meal plan’:

Meatless Monday – Pretty simple to explain and especially appreciated in a house where one of us mostly eats vegetarian.

Taco Tuesday – Food delivered via foldable, edible container.  Could be Fish Tacos, could be Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Wet Wednesday – Soup!!

Throw it out Thursday – This day is all about the leftovers.  We are terrible about eating them unless we set a day aside to make sure we do.

Fishy Friday – Something from the sea (to be transparent, we eat fish at least 2-3 times a week already)

Sizzling Saturday – My day to fire up the grill

Sumptuous Sunday – I usually have more time to really try something different and time consuming.   This is normally the day I try and emulate something I have had on the road as well as cook for the rest of the week.

Each day is supremely flexible in the fact that we can use what is on sale, try new recipes, make it ahead and take it with us (coming soon on this ‘Picnic Parents’), make extra for lunch the following days, accommodate both vegetarian and meat lovers……you get the point.

Most importantly, it sets everyone up for success!!

The only step I have added to the normal routine is to be sure that the meal plan (including recipes) is printed out for the week.  Cut and paste from the websites/Pinterest boards that are relevant for the week…..I may even try putting together a shared board for my wife and I for the week……huh, just thought of that one.  Thanks!!

So remember, while you are about to race out for the week, your family is hunkering down awaiting your return.  Do everything you can to make their week as successful as yours!

See you on the road!!