Learning to be organized is as easy as 1-2-3-4-5. Using Lean Office’s method called 5S is a systematic approach to bringing organization to any area. These 5 steps can be applied to everything from cleaning out your email Inbox to readying your garage for winter. Here are the five 5S components broken down for you to apply when traveling:
Sort: When deciding what to pack, sort items into categories. i.e. Work clothes, Play clothes, shoes & coats, electronics, toiletries and medications, accessories, etc.
Straighten: The mantra to have here is “A place for everything.” Know exactly where you’re storing things while away from home. For example, you can keep a colored poly project folder in the same pocket of your briefcase for every business trip. All travel confirmations are stored here along with receipts gathered along the way. Using a product like the Cargo Travel Organizer will be handy in keeping track of your electronics such as your iPod and camera, and all of those charger cords. An inexpensive product to take with you on all business trips is a Voice Mail Log book. As you take messages down you’ll have a specific place to write them each and every time. No more grabbing a scratch piece of paper or paper napkin.
Sweep: When lugging bags through airports and train stations, less is more, unless you’re working on building those biceps and deltoids. If you tend to be an over packer, an easy way to “sweep” is to lay everything out on your bed before packing. Then remove one-third. Get creative in wearing things more than once or discovering ways to mutli-purpose items. Any chance you can load your music on your phone and leave your iPod at home? How about taking only one pair of dress shoes and matching all outfits to those shoes?
Standardize: Labels and Checklists are part of any 5S culture. When traveling, include an address label on the inside of your luggage pieces as well as the outside. If possible, label all electronics with your cell number. There’s nothing worse than leaving your camera in the backseat of a cab during the middle of vacation. Mom was right – put your name on everything.
Use checklists when packing, and not just for your clothes either. If you are a frequent business traveler then you have certain items that need to go with you on every trip such as your favorite PowerPoint remote control, laptop charger cord and business cash. Make sure these items are on your Travel Checklist and store it with your luggage or in your office when packing up for a trip.
Sustain: The Sustain step of 5S happens almost automatically when the first four “S”’s get attention. To make sure your time away from the office goes smoothly, here are two final tips to consider when traveling:
- With your cell phone, take a photo of all your luggage pieces. If an airline misplaces it you’ll be able to accurately describe that black bag that resembles so many others. Take a close-up shot of any labels, icons or other marks as well.
- Before leaving your office, make sure you turn on your Vacation Notice for your email and create an appropriate voicemail message. If your position requires it, provide a name and phone number for an alternative contact during your absence.
Following these five steps will help your travels be less stressful and more organized which will allow for more fun along the way.