As a professional, it can seem like your smartphone’s calendar has more of a say on how you spend your time than you do, making it difficult to block out time to concentrate on work.
This is exactly why business travel is so valuable: outside of the thrill of traveling to a new location and pursuing an opportunity you’ve been setting up, business travel can potentially offer hours of uninterrupted time — a rarity this day and age.
Still, while most business travellers imagine they’ll be productive on their trip, business travel can be exhausting. Simply wanting to be productive when your everyday routine is disrupted won’t cut it — actively planning how you’re going to be productive when the opportunity arises will.
Our ten tips below will help make the best of every moment on your business trip:
Technology is your best friend
One key to productivity is letting technology empower rather than dictate. So, instead of your calendar app stressing you out, use it and other applications like Evernote to better organize and map out all of your upcoming meetings and work before your trip. Doing so lightens the mental strain of having to think about what’s next on your to-do list while on the trip itself, letting your mind focus on more important work instead.
(On the same token, make sure you download everything you need before departure. No one wants to waste time searching for Wi-Fi!)
Brush up on your destination
What’s a huge time waster when traveling on the road? Not knowing where the nearest grocery store is. Or if the conference centre is within walking distance. Or where your client’s office is in relation to where you’re staying — and on, and on…
Knowing this information before arriving is one of the smartest things you can do as a business traveler. It saves you from wasting time at the hotel trying to figure all this out, and lets you jump right into work.
While on the road, you’re still expected to keep in touch with your home office despite everything about your routine being up in the air — literally. What helps is being absolutely clear with your team about what’s expected of you and of them. In addition, emphasize exactly the times when you are and are not available. That way, there’s no ambiguity about when to reach out to you.
Another good habit to develop is leaving away messages on your email and phone’s voicemail. In it, include specific instructions specific to different callers. For example, you could designate a person to address specific inquiries while reminding people about your return date all in the same message.
Business travel means a lot of sitting in one place waiting to get to the next destination. But that doesn’t mean you have to do so idly. Instead, use every free moment to your advantage.
- Hold calls with other team members and staff about any important aspects of your project or business. Sitting at your gate waiting for a flight is as good a time as ever to review important benchmarks or discuss strategies that can help you perform better once you arrive.
- Grow your skills! Before you leave, select some topics and use idle time to read up on how they’re affecting your industry. A great way to soak up some new ideas are podcasts. Find one concerning your industry and keep notes on any and all new ideas that come out of listening to them. You’ll be surprised how many great ideas you’ll have after a single trip!
Your office away from the office
One of the keys to promoting focus is having a single place where work is done. Keeping it consistent helps get your mind into work mode. However, it’s obviously not possible to check in your entire office desk, so you’ll have to get a little more creative instead.
Before you embark on your trip, choose accommodations that boast business-centric amenities, such as an on-site office centre or dry cleaning. This lets you stay focused on the task ahead instead of busy figuring out how best to print out vital documents, for instance.
When you arrive at your destination, settle in at your hotel and designate somewhere in your room as a dedicated workspace. Use objects from your main office to make the temporary workspace more familiar and thus easier for your mind to start working. Ensure that your workspace is comfortable, too, by keeping all necessary supplies within reach.
Also, save yourself connection grief and bring an Ethernet cable with you — wired connections are usually much better than wireless connections.
Take a load off
It’s easy to get caught up with the nuances and intricacies of business demands while on the road. But remember: There’s no better way for your mind to process all the work you’re doing and things you’re learning than with some exercise and rest.
In other words, a perfect excuse for that two-hour walking tour of the city during a layover!