Traveling for business or pleasure can mean a lot of wasted time, especially if you are flying. There is waiting for the plane, being on the plane, waiting for luggage and then spending time at the hotel after the whole ordeal.
That “wasted time” is actually very valuable, and you can make yourself more productive with these tips. That way, when you get back to work, you won’t find yourself way behind.
Being Prepared Before You Leave
If your work requires company information, files, remote login info and access to your cloud, make sure you have everything ready before you leave. You can’t work if you can’t get to the needed information and tools right?
Place everything you might need on a flash drive or in a cloud based service. Even if you’re unsure about something, save it anyways. Also, don’t assume that everywhere you go will have a reliable WiFi, so download any documents that are essential to your work.
Pack the correct tools for the job. Take your laptop, charging cords, whatever you need to work and have it in a carry on. Since an outlet is like a little electric oasis in airports, bring along a power strip. You’ll be able to charge your electronics and open up more spots for others. If you have a long flight ahead, be sure your batteries are fully charged before getting on the plane.
Be Accountable and Plan Ahead
Before you leave, tell a coworker or supervisor to expect something specific from you when you get back. This pushes you to finish that project before returning home. Just don’t get too ambitious. You will be less productive on the road than you are at the office. Make a specific plan to accomplish the project and give yourself plenty of time. If you finish early, you can move to other work.
Leave extra time in your schedule for work related emergencies (because they will happen.) Give coworkers a basic travel schedule that includes times you will be unavailable. That way, in the midst of a crisis, they won’t leave 20 voicemails on your phone for when you get off the plane.
Be sure to bring along a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones. With distractions like TVs, screaming children and overhead announcements, you need to mute a lot of the sound. Don’t turn on music, as this will block out all sound and you still need to pay attention to important announcement like boarding calls and flight delays.
Your goal is to transform your current environment into a bubble of productivity. Try to find a seat that faces away from distractions like people walking by, windows, and televisions and get to work.
Keep a Work Schedule
If you’re traveling for a long period of time, don’t get burned out. Trying too hard to be productive will only hurt you in the long run. Being productive on the road is just like being productive at work. Take regular breaks and don’t overwork yourself.
Along those same lines, keep a schedule to help you focus. Set a time you’ll start and stop each day and follow it. This will help you manage your time and help you track how effective you are when on the road.
Set Short Term Deadlines
Whether it’s finishing a project before the day is over or sending an email before you board the plane, deadlines will push you to stay productive. Setting, and meeting, realistic goals throughout the day will give you that feeling of accomplishment that will keep you focused.
Don’t be afraid to put away the laptop for a little bit and enjoy the experience of traveling. Take an hour or three to explore your destination before getting back to work. See some of the sites, eat exotic foods, and buy a few souvenirs. Being happy and excited about the trip will translate to working hard.
Do you have some tips for working while traveling? Is there some secrets you’ve figure out? Got a travel story you want to share?
About the Author:
Ben Allen is a writer who focuses on business, motivation, and video games.You can read more of his articles by following him on Twitter @allen24ben.