by Angela Leavitt, founder of Mojo Marketing
Fall is right around the corner and this an uptick in conferences and events. Add end-of-year planning with remote clients into the mix and you may find yourself on the road more than in the office. With so much going on, your road warrior self may fall behind on completing actual work and feel overwhelmed. If only the world would stop turning while you’re on the road, right?
So what can you do if you travel frequently for work and want to stay on top of things while maintaining your sanity? These 7 business hacks will help to keep you productive and stress-free while on the road:
1. Get ahead on tasks before traveling.
We always seem most productive right before leaving for a vacation, so why not treat business travel the same way? Looking ahead in your calendar and crossing things off your upcoming to-do list will help you stress less. This is also a great time to plan with your team and delegate where you can. Besides, the more you can focus on your travel’s purpose, the more successful you will be at achieving that purpose. Reducing distractions before takeoff will help direct your energy toward your conference, event or meeting.
2. Set a daily time to check in.
While you may be scheduled back-to-back while traveling, having a little bit of time blocked off each day to check in will help reduce that overwhelming feeling. Try to plan a 30-minute session in the morning and another in the afternoon or evening to review emails, respond to requests from staff, and update to-do lists and your calendar. Having this time blocked off your calendar will most likely mean you are more likely to do the task.
3. Schedule new tasks on your calendar.
That feeling of being overloaded can quickly rise as your task list gets longer. One way to combat that is to block off time to address each task specifically. Just by having a plan for tackling new things puts me in the driver’s seat, which feels much more empowering. You can also let the requester know, “I’m traveling right now but I put time on my calendar to address this on Friday morning.” People appreciate you more knowing you have time set aside for them.
4. Leverage unreliable WiFi to organize and write.
Although most airplanes offer WiFi these days, the connection isn’t always reliable. If you are stuck on a flight with no internet, use the time to organize files, clean up your desktop, and catch up on writing blogs or articles. Sometimes purposely going no-Wifi on a flight helps to tackle these activities distraction-free.
5. Use waiting time to catch up on educational audiobooks or podcasts.
Traveling means a lot of time waiting. Waiting to check in, waiting for security, waiting for your Uber – all of these minutes add up. Use that time to catch up on podcasts and audiobooks that will keep you sharp and help you learn new skills. A side bonus to this hack is that you’ll drown out the background noise that can add to travel stress.
6. Unpack your bags.
If you are staying more than a night or two in a hotel, fully unpack your bag and put everything in its place. This will keep you from having to rummage through your suitcase frantically trying to find something, and in return, will save you precious time when getting ready. It also helps to feel more organized and settled, and makes the “living out of a suitcase” experience more tolerable.
7. Prioritize self-care.
All the productivity hacks in the world are useless if you get sick or severely worn down when you travel. Longer hours, time zone changes and an increase of germ exposure can quickly take their toll. To combat this, taking care of yourself must be a priority. This could mean maintaining your workout routine, making healthy food choices, and prioritizing sleep. Also take additional vitamins and washing your hands more frequently helps.
While business travel may be a necessary evil for you, it doesn’t have to bring your work to a halt. By following these hacks, you’ll find your next business trip will be much more productive, and maybe even enjoyable.
Angela Leavitt is the founder of Mojo Marketing. With 15 years of experience in sales and marketing, Leavitt creates targeted and effective marketing strategies for companies of all sizes in the B2B tech space, especially the telecom, IT, and cloud industries. She was a top three finalist for the Tempe Chamber’s Business Woman of the Year Award in 2009, and was named to the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO list in 2016 and 2017.