Like the rest of the world, my travel schedule came to a grinding halt 18 months ago. Thanks to COVID, all my business trips were cancelled, as clients were no longer taking in-person meetings. Plus, my personal/vacation travel was curtailed heavily, although my partner Jack and I did sneak in quite a few short trips in 2020 and 2021.
During the past couple of months, I’ve noticed an easing of meeting restrictions, so this past week I took both a personal trip (to Las Vegas) and my first short business trip.
My overall feeling was: Geez, I need to find my travel rhythm again.
For those of you who used to travel regularly, you probably know what I mean. I used to keep my toiletries and make-up packed and ready to go, which made packing for a two or three-day trip super easy. On my first trip this past weekend, I found I needed to reload my toiletries case… darn it, I was out of the travel-size toothpaste, make-up remover, etc.
And selecting clothes for my two-day business trip took me much longer than usual. Then I remembered a travel tip I learned from a magazine: Just pick one color scheme for all business trips so everything is interchangeable. Ever wonder why so many people wear all black or all navy when they travel for business? Well, that’s why! Everything is mix and match, and you don’t have to pack as many clothes and shoes, allowing you to fit everything into a carry-on luggage.
And how about getting to the airport? I was very worried about how long it would take to get through security, even though I have TSA pre-check. So, I got to the airport two hours before my flight. Turns out, TSA has gotten fairly efficient, and it actually took much less time than pre-COVID. I found myself on all flights with tons of time before departure.
So, what to do with that extra hour or so? I read. That’s because I always save up all my reading materials for when I am taking flights. I get about 10-15 magazines and newspapers each month, both at home and at work, and I never seem to have the time to read them during my regular weekly schedule. So, I let them pile up.
When I’m getting ready for a trip, I put all my reading in a tote for my flights. I used to stuff them into a rolling briefcase, but it was terribly bulky and heavy. Now I actually put them in a burlap tote or reusable shopping bag. I know it may not appear too classy or business-like to get on a plane with a shopping bag stuffed with reading. However, on a two- or three-hour flight I can usually get through at least half of my reading, and I am thrilled to be able to pass them off to the flight attendants as trash (or many times the flight attendants enjoy reading the magazines).
I used to purchase food at the airport to eat during the flight so I was not dependent on in-flight food and beverage offerings. But, since resuming travel again, I have started bringing my own healthy snacks from home. Nuts and protein bars are my go-to. That means all I need to purchase at the airport is bottled water. I know that one of the ways to make sure you feel good during and after a flight is to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. I’m not really good at remembering to bring a refillable water bottle (which would be the best environmental choice), so I frequently purchase a large bottle of water at my airport of departure.
This week one of my trips took me through the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. As you can see from the photo below, airline traffic and passenger levels are back to pre-pandemic levels. Most of my flights were 100% filled with no empty seats.
And although at first I was skeptical about the need to use the alcohol wipes that the airlines handed out when I boarded to wipe down my seatbelt, travel table, and all contact surfaces, I noticed that my seatmates used the wipes with no shame, so I have now started to do the same. And, of course, all passengers and flight attendants are wearing masks in flight. The threat of permanent expulsion from airlines for not masking has made it an easy choice.
So, as you get ready for your next (or first) trip, I hope you get your rhythm back right away. I’m happy the cover for my iPhone allows me to store my driver’s license and one credit card, so I don’t even need to get into my purse when I travel.
And in case you’re panicked about whether you’ll need to update your driver’s license with a REAL ID this year—don’t fret! We just got notice yesterday that REAL ID won’t be required until 2023. Hallelujah! I was even happier to learn that you don’t have to go to the DMV to get your REAL ID—you can go to AAA, and they will take care of it for you.
Phoenix Sky Harbor airport on Monday morning
PS I will be traveling on vacation for the next two weeks, so my next blogpost will be Friday, November 19th.
Lately I’ve noticed at the end of some days, or after a long weekend, that I don’t feel like I accomplished anything. Do you ever get that feeling?
In the past, I’ve been pretty diligent about making a “things to do” list for work. But lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a bit lazy. I used to start my week by writing a list of my biggest projects or important meetings to accomplish for the week, crossing items off my list as I complete them, and adding more as the week goes on. I number my list, as I love to see a long list of things to do and get great pleasure in crossing things off. It actually gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
And, over the years, I’ve used this same technique in my personal life, making “things to do” lists each Saturday morning to make sure I don’t forget any of those errands and projects I need to complete on the weekend. But after this past weekend, I had to ask myself, why do I feel so draggy? I’ve stopped making my weekend list and keep forgetting to do things, like pick up my prescription at the pharmacy.
Why is this happening to me?
Well, as it turns out, I am not the only one experiencing this. In this Forbes article my feelings were confirmed that the pandemic has created a new kind of burnout. As I read this article about the ebb and flow of peoples’ motivation and productivity during the last 18 months—including leaders and executives like myself—I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The yo-yo effect of good news followed by bad news has worn me down. And being worn down has caused me not to follow my standard practice of making a list of things to do, and it has also caused me to be more tired than usual each evening. I have noticed that I am looking toward the bedroom closer to 8:30 p.m. each evening and getting at least 8 hours of sleep is the norm now.
And even my daily practice of exercise, whether it is a long run at the beach, rowing, or taking a class on the Peloton, has lost some of its appeal.
But frankly, reading that others are experiencing this made me feel better. It’s not just me.
Once I recognized that I have an issue and labeled it (burnout), I suddenly feel like I can overcome it.
How about you? Have you been struggling with work-life balance? By the way, it is now referred to as work-life engagement. There is no magic formula, or percentage that makes our work lives and personal lives perfectly balanced. It changes daily, weekly and sometimes based on our age or stage in life.
We thrive and are at our best when we have a sense of engagement in both our professional and personal lives. And for me, having a balance of busy time and free time in both areas of my life makes me a happier person.
At work, I’ve started the practice of limiting my meetings. When I look at my daily outlook calendar, I make sure my meetings are not stacked. Having at least 30 minutes between meetings, and not having too many pre-scheduled meetings allows me thinking and breathing time. In fact, at my company I’ve encouraged my management team to un-invite themselves to all meetings which they don’t feel will be productive or could be handled by an email memo.
In my personal life, I’ve resurrected making my “things to do” list so things get done vs. lingering as “oh, I forgot to do that” items. I’ve also started to schedule fun things on the calendar in advance, so I am not just hanging out or vegging over the weekend. I’m adding exercise time to my daily “things to do list,” as I know that the endorphins I get from exercise lift my spirit and give me more energy.
Are you in denial about how you are feeling? Do you find yourself a little crabbier with your family or co-workers? Do you end some days saying to yourself “I don’t feel like I accomplished anything today” and feel like you have been in a fog?
Maybe it’s time to hit the reset button. Is it time for a day off, a short vacation, or some quiet time? Is it time to make a list of everything you want to do, whether that includes projects at home or work, or is it time to plan a vacation or call your best friend?
I hope you’re like me. Once you think about the issue, you can make a list, take time to think about it, and make a decision to do something different. All this actually reminds me of one of my favorite books: The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. And while you’re at it, check out her newest book, which was just published this week: The High 5 Habit.
You can do it!
I think all of us remember the horrific news on January 26, 2020—when famed NBA star Kobe Bryant’s helicopter went down with him, his daughter and seven other friends, all of whom perished.
But what I wasn’t aware of was what a great thought leader he had developed into.
As we age, we get smarter. We mature, we learn and we evolve. Kobe was 41 when he died, but many say he had the wisdom of someone much older.
Just this week, I was completing another audio book (# 70 so far this year) titled Make Your Next Shot Your Best Shot by famed sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella. This book is about the secret to playing great golf. I now have about 14 months of playing golf weekly under my belt, so when this book popped up on my suggested reading list, I thought the timing was perfect.
What I’ve learned from the book is that golf is a mental game. It’s a game of attitude (much more so than just a physical game). And as I was nearing the end of the book this morning on my drive to work, Rotella read through Kobe’s 10 rules:
I believe that Kobe’s 10 rules apply not just to basketball, or sports, but to every part of our lives.
Think about it!
Los Alamitos, CA (October 2021) – The Center for Growing Talent by the Produce Marketing Association, in partnership with Frieda’s Specialty Produce owners, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, awarded the winner of the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Fresh Perspectives Scholarship to Melanny Gomez Cruz of Four Seasons Produce, Inc. Cruz was selected by an independent panel of industry members and was one of more than 20 applicants.
Because the produce industry has been predominately male, this conference empowers women by hosting events and sessions focused on development in order to maximize their impact, personally and professionally. The added benefit of networking helps to build a sense of community and comradery.
The Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Fresh Perspectives scholarship was awarded to Cruz for her impact within many parts of the organization Four Seasons Produce Inc., most recently as a recruiting specialist. The scholarship is granted to those who embody Frieda’s spirit of action, excellence, and dedication to personal and professional development. Each recipient receives an all-expenses-paid trip and admittance to this conference to provide them with the opportunity to further their development efforts.
“I don’t have words on how amazing this was for me,” Cruz said. “This conference has helped me see things from a different perspective. I met such amazing women at this conference. I loved seeing that the first-timers came in shy and had no glow to them. Then on the last day, I saw them interacting– so alive and glowing. I feel like this scholarship is an amazing opportunity for many women. It opens up delicate situations happening in the workplace and lets women know that they are not alone.”
The Frieda Rapaport Women’s Fresh Perspective Scholarship will start accepting applications for 2022 next spring. Recipients should meet a few criteria to be considered, including being a first-time attendee to the conference (once awarded) and employed in any segment of the produce or floral supply chain– both at the time of the application and the time of the conference. Be on the lookout for updates from PMA and the Fresh Perspective Conference team to find out when the application period starts for the 2022 scholarship.
Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit and dragon fruit, to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by the late produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.
How have you been feeling the last week or so? Maybe you felt lost, sick, confused, or angry (I actually felt a bit off on Sunday and couldn’t figure out why). Did you have to deal with lost or delayed shipments, broken appliances or did your internet crash? How about the fact that Facebook went down a few days ago, inexplicably?
After the Facebook crash, my immediate thought was, “Mercury is in retrograde.” In case you aren’t aware, several times a year, as you gaze up into the sky, the planet Mercury will look as if it is moving backwards. That is called “retrograde.” In my family, we actually mark the calendar when this is going to happen, as “fair warning.” We even have a family group text and compare notes when stuff starts to go wrong.
Last week, my partner Jack sent us this text:
“Mercury. I’m now a believer. When will it go away? I’m near losing it.
Credit Card. Failed. WTF???”
Well, according to famed astrologer Gahl Sasson, not only was Mercury retro starting September 27, but a few other planets and such joined in: Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Chiron and Minerva are also retrograding right now. “This is heavy on our bodies, minds and souls. So take it easy, lots of misunderstandings and issues in relationships and anything in your life that serves as your mirror.” Thankfully, these periods only last about three weeks, and Mercury will move out of retrograde on October 17.
I even found an article on CNN Underscored (online) sharing advice on “Everything you need to keep calm this Mercury retrograde.” You can read the entire article here.
Since Mercury is the planet of communication, anything to do with communication or electronics is always a bit “off” during the retrograde. So, I guess it should not be a surprise that my new assistant Johnny lost his phone on a hike this past weekend (both electronics and communication)?
Please feel free to do your own research, but here is a partial list of what not to do during Mercury retrograde. Don’t:
Thankfully, this is the third and final time for Mercury to go retrograde in 2021. We get a break from October 17 until the next retrograde period starting January 14–February 3, 2022. For more information on the goings on in 2022, check out this article.
I realize that some people do not believe in astrology or horoscopes and have no idea what sign they are (I am a Libra, thank you very much), and that all this is crazy talk. However, now that you are aware of Mercury, you may want to pay attention to what happens in your life during these mercury retrograde periods. It’s a little nuts!