On the road. Vacation has finally started. Finally sweet relief. Time to relax.

T-minus 3, 2, 1. Pipe dream turns to pipe bomb: An hour or so into the drive, thoughts begin to arrive: “Did I lock the back door?”

For the next five hours of your drive, you won’t be looking forward to your vacation. You’ll be wondering if that goddamn door is locked… or unlocked… or locked… or…

And you’ll start working through all the horrible scenarios that walk through that might-be-open door and put their feet up in your mind.

Defusing the recurring attention time bombs of travel

I can’t help you go back in time, and I can’t help you teleport back to your back door, but I can give you some advice.

You’re probably already good at making lists, especially before traveling. Writing down things like pants, socks, toothbrush is obvious. That's great. Consider your back patted.

But quite honestly, it takes more than a packed bag to leave to house for a weekend or week, doesn’t it? You also need to remember things like:

  • Arm security system
  • Lock all doors
  • Close windows
  • Turn down or turn off heating and AC
  • Check to see if the iron is unplugged
  • Turn off all lights

In OmniFocus, I keep these things in a generic a packing project template,1 and I check them off as I do them. It’s the best assurance I can give my future self that I actually did these things.

Investing just a little forethought in the form of an OmniFocus packing project can take you miles and miles toward enjoying your vacation more—before you ever hit the road.

  1. I keep my project templates in a ‘Templates’ folder at the top level of my OmniFocus project Library. I keep template projects ‘On Hold’. When I want to call one into action, I duplicate it (Cmd-D), then drag it to the appropriate life compartment (folder), then make it active. For packing projects, I use a ‘Packing’ context. This best represents the frame of mind I’m in when execute actions—even the ones that don’t land in luggage.