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Travel Annoyances

December 20, 2008

Filed under: life,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 08:47

I like to travel and would not do it if I didn’t. I enjoy meeting people from around the world, experiencing new cultures and foods, and seeing historic sites and the countryside. I understand and appreciate most of the security measures at airports. However, there’s a few things associated with travel that are irritating, especially when they occur repeatedly.


One aggravation are the fees for Internet access at some hotels and airport lounges. Many hotel chains in the U.S. now offer free, unlimited Internet. They know that it does not cost them much once the network is in place. The maintenance cost is minimal compared to what they gain (happy customers) in return. I stayed at a hotel in Europe recently that charged $25 per day for access. When paying, you must also enter login codes and passwords and they can be a headache. I usually voice my disapproval when checking in and I hope you do too. I hope that someday, it is free and simple wherever you stay.


Most beds at hotels are reasonably comfortable, but I just don’t understand the reasoning behind a duvet, which is used widely in Europe and some other parts of the world. Maybe it’s because I grew up with sheets and blankets. Using or not using a duvet is like being an oven or refrigerator and nothing in-between. There’s no way to regulate comfort. Would someone please explain to me why they are used?


On occasion, people must answer their phone or make a phone call in public, but why do they have to talk so loudly? Many talk much louder than if they were holding a conversation face-to-face. I sat across from a woman on a train recently that talked for 30 minutes non-stop and it was anything but pleasant. Others in the train car were giving her the evil eye, but that didn’t seem to matter. What’s wrong with these people?


It’s a privilege to travel and I enjoy it a lot, and overall, these annoyances are minor. When they occur over and over, they can be puzzling.


How to Get Things Done

December 8, 2008

Filed under: life — Terry Wohlers @ 16:38

Many years ago, I read the classic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Of all the suggestions offered in the book, one stuck with me the most. I call it the Big Rock principle. Our lives are filled with jobs, tasks, meetings, and emails—sometimes an overwhelming number of them. If you are like many people, you sometimes slip into a period where you’re working hard and long hours, but you neglect some of the most important stuff.

Covey points out that if you fill an empty jar with pebbles, it’s impossible to fit big rocks into it. If you first place rocks into the jar, you can fit many small pebbles around them. The idea is that you must concentrate on the big, important projects before the small tasks. If you fall into the trap of dealing with little items, one after another, the day and night can disappear before you know it. And, you don’t feel that you’ve accomplished much—and certainly not what’s important. If I’m not careful, I find myself processing email as it arrives or taking phone calls, rather than staying focused on a critical project. When I maintain focus, I can knock our major chucks of a project and still find time to fit in the little things.

The next time you feel like your day is spent unproductively, ask yourself how you’re spending time. Remind yourself of the Big Rock principle. “Turn off” your email and phone and concentrate, non-stop, on a single activity that’s important. Almost always, you will find time to fit in the smaller tasks and you will gain a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.