How to Stay Productive on a Business Trip
Traveling for business sounds like a fantastic way to make money and see the world. What most people quickly learn, is that it’s not as easy as it seems. Delays, unexpected expenses or weather problems can turn your trip into a stressful nightmare. Add in the fact that you’re expected to serve the purpose of the trip, while keeping up with things back at the office, and you’re likely to find yourself overwhelmed, and having difficulty getting things done. Here are some tips to help you manage your trip while staying productive, and staying relaxed.
One of the keys to making things go smoothly are to make your arrangements ahead of time to cover all of your needs. Getting to your destination and finding out that your hotel requires you to pay for spotty Wi-Fi can ruin your chances of getting any work done. Find out what services they provide, and whether they offer in-room Ethernet connections. If you’re at the end of a hallway on the 5th floor, you may not be able to access the free Wi-Fi even if they offer it. If you know you’re going to have a long layover, check out a map of the airport before you leave to find out where you can set up your computer to get some work done. Make sure that any local travel arrangements can be met so you don’t wind up late for the meetings you have planned.
Stay in Touch
If you’ve still got employees to manage while you’re gone, or projects of your own that you will need to follow up on, make sure that everyone is clear on the communication aspect of things. Let your colleagues know when you will be available, and what the best way to get in touch with you is. If you prefer emails over phone calls, make sure that is clearly communicated prior to your departure. Also make sure that everyone knows when you won’t be available, such as the 8-hour long conference on Tuesday, so that they know not to expect a response. Even if you plan to check your email every 2 hours, set your out of office messages to let everyone know that you are travelling, so any delays in response will be understood.
Maintain Your Routines as Much as Possible
If you’re used to sitting down at your desk and spending 20 minutes checking and responding to emails first thing in the morning, find a way to do that while in the hotel room. Set up a workspace at the desk and do what you normally would. Keeping things as familiar as possible when you’re in an unfamiliar place will help you stay on task. If you normally eat lunch at 1:00, try and do the same while travelling. The more you keep things the same, the more likely you will be to keep up with your normal work load.
Take Time to Unwind
It’s important to take time to relax, even if it’s watching TV or reading in your hotel room. Coping with the stress of travelling can make you edgy and irritable, and hurt your productivity. Enjoy the solitude if you can, and the fact that you don’t have to clean or run errands. Hit the hotel pool for an hour in the evenings if you like to swim- it can help you sleep and they often have a hot-tub. Find a way to sneak in a few hours of “vacation” every day if you can. If you’re really lucky and get an afternoon off, go and see some local sights. Make the trip about more than just work.
About the author: Tess Pajaron is an experienced Community Manager working at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. When not working, she enjoys reading and traveling.