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Category Archives: Life Hacks

I think I may have just discovered the next generation of the UPS Store; Earth Class Mail.

However:

  • ECM takes your mail and scans it so that you can view it online!
  • You can then view the mail online and decide to have ECM personnel open it (and scan contents), forward it to another address or trash it.
  • How cool is that for the busy consultant?

Limitations:

  • ECM is only in a limited number of major cities. This limits your ability to pick your mail up if you choose.
  • Most of these locations are P.O. Boxes.  FedEx and UPS won’t deliver to P.O. Boxes.
  • The service is fairly expensive for a limited number of mail items.

Conclusion:

  • This is worth a try if I ever find myself traveling again for an extended time.
  • I wonder how long until the UPS Store catches on?
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VersaCharger Pro – Car, Wall, and Airplane Charger in One

I travel 100% for my consulting job.  I don’t like taking anymore stuff than I have to on the road.  That being said, I have found myself SOL on some occasions when I forget something or don’t bring enough of something else.

That being said, I love products that are intelligently designed and serve a multitude of purposes.  The Boxwave charger I link to above is AWESOME.  You can use your USB cord and this charger to wall charge or car charge.  Nice.  How is that for cutting down on the travel clutter?

I am on a plane about twice a week and thus, have to go through airport security twice a week.  Regardless of our feelings about the TSA, it’s something we have to live with in this day.  Well, I have learned a few tips that make the TSA security screener’s life easier and thus my life easier.

1. Wear slippers, flip-flops or slip-on shoes when going through screening.  That’s right leave the hiking boots at home.  With simple slip-ons or flip flops you have an easier time taking them on and off, you don’t block everyone else around you and your shoes aren’t subject to further scrutiny from the screener.

2. Make sure your liquid toiletries are in containers that are no bigger than 3 oz and can fit in ONE standard sized ziplock bag.  There are not exceptions to this.  Also, I always put my toiletries in my laptop bag.  It’s easier to get to and I grab it when I take out my laptop.

3. When advancing through the screening line and before you get to the tables where you place everything in bins, start upzipping your laptop bag so you have easier access to you laptop bag.  As soon as you get to the table, grab two bins.  One is for electronics and valuables.  The other is for coats, shoes, etc.  Make sure you have your boarding pass in your hand as you walk through.  When I print out my boarding pass at the self check-in kiosk, I always put it in my back right pocket.

4. Get hooked into a frequent flier program that allows you to go through an abbreviated line.  I love United’s program.   This saves about 15-30 minutes and has saved my life in some hurries.

5. Always send your carry on bags through first, then bins with your clothes, shoes, then the bin with your valuables (watch, money clip, laptop) last.  If you don’t and someone ahead of you gets held up, your valuables are sitting there for anyone to grab.

By being organized and thinking ahead, I have never had a problem going through security.

A b-school colleague told me that once I went bespoke, or custom-made, with my work clothing that I would never going back to buying off the rack. I must admit, he was right.

I never really ever thought about seriously buying custom fit clothing for work. I guess I don’t know why as I have a 44 chest and a 32 waist. I figured it would be too expensive without really investigating it. It was went I went to buy a couple of suits that I began to realize that for about $600 I could get a custom suit made with a good super 120 wool.

Well, after soliciting some more fellow b-school opinions, I settled on Fit Wel custom clothing in Brentwood, Los Angeles. They measured, I ordered and waited about 4 weeks. When I finally received my suits and shirts, I tried them on and felt like a million bucks. I have never had clothes fit so well, well!

I will never go back to buying off the rack. Additionally, buying custom clothing is helping me with my transition to less is more. As I continue to simply my life by adopting GTD or reading the latest posting on zenhabits.net, I am realizing that I need to focus on having fewer things that declutter my life. So with my clothing, I am donating all the old and just having a few things. Additionally, as I am a traveling consultant, I only can take 5 shirts and pants on the road at any one time. So how many shirts, pants, suits do I really have. I can spend a little more on custom made, look better, feel better and continue to declutter my life.

So how can you get in on this? Go to a tailor, have them measure you, then find a reputable tailor from Hong Kong online.   I really like Cosmo Circle Custom Tailors in Hong Kong.  Send them your measurements. Buy a few shirts and see how you like them. I guarantee if this is done right, you will never go back to off the rack!

I love OGIO bags.  I have never had a laptop case and suitcase that were  so well designed and well made.  I have the OGIO City Corp laptop bad and the OGIO Layover suitcase.

I have been traveling non-stop over the last few years as a consultant and I can not afford to have a busted wheel or broken zipper slow me down.  The one thing I learned is spend the money to buy quality and OGIO delivers on that plus one.  Sure they are durable but they are also intelligently designed.  The number of pockets and compartments just blows me away.  These aren’t gratuitous either, they are each separately sized and all are within easy reach.  This is a great, for example, when you are going through security at LAX and you need to know where your ticket or toiletries are.

OGIO bags, I am a raving fan.  Thanks for a quality product in a sea of crap bags.

I love the UPS Store.  I pay them about $20 a month for my mailbox and I think it’s worth every penny.

As you all know by now, I am a consultant who travels 100% of the time.  I practically live in hotels and make it home to LA about 1 weekend a month.  I have also been living in LA for about 5 years.  In these last 5 years I have lived at 6 different addresses.  I knew it would be extremely hard to make sure all my mail made it to me in its entirety.

So what did I do?  As you probably guessed, I got a UPS Store mailbox.  Someone at the UPS store ensures my mail always makes it to my little mailbox and they sign for my packages  It’s a “life hack”.  I avoid missing mail, I avoid having my packages stolen, I avoid having to notify EVERYONE that I changed my address and most importantly I reduce the possibility of having my identity stolen.

If you’re on the road constantly, they will even box up and mail all your mail to your hotel or client site.  What’s not to love?

Okay, this is how I get things done when I’m on the road.  I like things to be as effective and efficient as possible.  I do follow zenhabits.com’s simplied Getting Things Done methodology (Collect, Process, Plan, Do).

Getting my own personal electronic fax number has been one way of processing the mail that builds up in my UPS Store mailbox.  When I pick up my mail, I sort all the junk mail into a pile and chuck it right there at the UPS Store.  Items that require shredding, I take home and shred.  Items that I need to retain for my records (that are obviously not in electronic copy), I fax right there from the UPS Store to my own eFax number.  The eFax number then sends me an email to my email account as a PDF attachment.  I have filters set up that automatically direct the fax into its own special little folder.

I end up leaving the UPS Store with about 3 pieces of paper max.

Okay consultants, this may be a no-brainer but here is a way to reduce the amount of dry cleaning and laundry that you haul around on the road.

Leave your dry cleaning and laundry at a dry cleaner over the weekend.  Most dry cleaners will pick up your undies and shirts from your hotel.  Ask behind the front desk or get on Google and call around.  Drop your dirty clothes behind the front desk as your check out.  Also, see if the dry cleaning company will provide you a bag with your name on it.

If you need to take your shirts with you, I suggest having them boxed.  There may be some lines in the shirts when you pull them out of your suitcase but they wont be wrinkled.

Also, leave your toiletries at your office desk (in a drawer) or at the hotel.  Most hotels will provide a cardboard box for longer term desks.  Remember this is not a safety deposit box, so take your Rolex with you.