Whether it’s for a meeting, conference or to simply gain a better perspective of the landscape in which you do business, traveling for work can be rewarding and productive. It can also leave you overwhelmed if you aren’t prepared.
Make the most of your work travel, reduce stress and ensure that your work plate doesn’t resemble Mt. Everest upon your return by planning ahead. Here are a few tips to help you make the best use of your time during work travel.
Coordinate Coverage with your Team
While you might have time to keep up with some projects and tasks during work travel, coordinating with team members to help cover your regular tasks can reduce stress and allow you to focus on the goals of your trip instead of all the work that awaits your return. Even having a few colleagues who are willing to take care of a few tasks here and there can make a huge difference. And when they do, be sure to send them a thank you note.
Make the Most of In-Flight Wi-Fi
These days, most airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi. Although it can be inconsistent, connection speeds are continuing to improve. That being said, be sure to plan ahead and download any documents or videos you may need ahead of time. Barring any issues with motion sickness, flight time can be productive periods for writing reports, responding to emails or reviewing any last minute trip details.
Schedule Meetings Ahead of Time
Stay organized by finalizing your meetings several days before you leave for your trip. Having your schedule mapped out in advance helps ensure that your travel schedule leaves you with plenty of time to be punctual and not rush from one meeting to the next. If possible, leave bit of unblocked time at the end of your trip should an unexpected opportunity or meeting come up.
Block GSD (Get Stuff Done) Time
If you have deadlines or action items that you know you will need to finish during your trip, block off some time on your calendar before you leave to ensure you have time to complete these tasks while you are away. By blocking out GSD time on your calendar, you’re better able to get work accomplished during the work day instead of late at night after a work dinner or rushing to get it done before or during your flight.
Leave Breathing Room
Packing in as many meetings or events as possible during a short amount of time will likely hurt your productivity in the long run. If you don’t leave enough room to breathe, you’ll likely be less attentive in meetings, which will ultimately hurt the relationships you are trying to build. Consider leaving 15 minutes free between meetings. It’ll give you time to regroup and send initial follow-up emails on action items discussed during the meeting instead of waiting to send them later when you may forget something.
On busy travel days it’s easy to forget to drink water. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, anxious and hungry. Get yourself a reusable water bottle and drink water throughout the day. You’ll be more attentive in your meetings and feel better at the end of the day.
Work travel doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, if you prepare, ask for backup, schedule your time well and take care of yourself during the trip, it can be both productive and fun. Happy travels!