When you think about the time lost while traveling to and from destinations for business, it might seem like a waste of time. Between the ride to and from the airport, ticketing, security, check-in at hotels, and trying to figure out where and what to eat, you can easily feel like you’re losing hours of being productive when traveling.
Learning how to stay productive on the go is an important skill to have if you find yourself traveling often. Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your business and your employees while on the road:
Plan Communication Strategies Before You Leave
If you know that you are going to be out of touch for an extended period of time, make sure that you clearly lay out who is going to be the point person and make decisions in your absence. Also, be sure to let everyone know the best way to get in touch with you if there is an emergency and how best to reach you for more mundane issues.
Let people know how often you plan on checking your email, and when you expect to be unavailable so that no one panics if they don’t get an immediate response from you. Having a written plan for who is going to handle things will keep confusion to a minimum and help ease your mind about your absence, freeing you to focus on other priorities.
Stick To a Routine as Much as Possible
Set up an office area in your hotel room and do your best to stick with your normal routine. If you normally grab a cup of coffee in the morning and drink it while you check your emails, there is nothing preventing you from doing the same while traveling.
Keeping things as routine as you can will help you maintain your normal productivity levels while away from the office. If you travel frequently, stick with a single hotel chain where you are familiar with the policies, procedures, amenities, and check-in process.
It soon becomes a home away from home and you will begin to cultivate a comfortable familiarity with your surroundings no matter where in the world you find yourself.
Prioritize a List of Tasks You Can Refer To
This doesn’t just mean making a list of things you need to do. This can mean making a note about tasks that require connectivity, versus tasks that can be done when you don’t have internet access. Break them up into the amount of time that they will take.
If you find yourself stuck in traffic in a cab, you can easily look to your list to find something productive that you can do in that extra 20 minutes of time. This helps to improve your flexibility, as well as keep you going when circumstances are beyond your control.
Go Paperless and Keep Travel Arrangements in One Place
Keep your flight, hotel, and ride information in one easily accessible place that isn’t dependent on being connected to access. While being able to complete a paperless check-in on your phone is very convenient, what happens if you can’t connect to your email server with your ticket information?
Make sure you have all of your reservation numbers, gate numbers, and confirmation numbers someplace you can find them so that you aren’t stuck at a ticketing counter or hotel lobby while someone is trying to locate your records.
Having that information handy can save you quite a bit of time in the event of a complication, giving you more time to get things done.
Stay Offline While Working
Make a point to disconnect your devices from the internet when your work doesn’t require it. You can respond to emails, take care of some writing, and plenty of other tasks without the distractions of new notifications or alerts to sidetrack you.
If you’ve decided that you need to work on a particular task, gather your information, then cut your connection while you handle it. Alternatively, if you know that you’re going to be on a plane for two hours, use that time wisely.
Work on small tasks during short pauses, and save larger tasks for when you have the time to get into them. Interrupting a task repeatedly decreases your focus and you’ll spend more time working, with a poor outcome.
Don’t Forget to Schedule Some Downtime
Even if you’re used to a jam-packed day at home or the office, the added stress of travel and being away from home can take a toll on your mental state. Make sure that you find time to relax periodically.
Though you may feel like you’re wasting valuable time, you’ll increase your ability to focus and organize your thoughts, which will ultimately lead to higher productivity.
How Can Leaders Stay Productive When Traveling?
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