It is easy to get side-tracked during business travel when you are away from your office. Just being on the plane may kick you into vacation mode. You might also feel too exhausted to work, given the fast pace and stress of travel.
These are just a few of the traps that can make you less productive than you would like on a business trip. Luckily, with a little bit of gumption, it’s easy to keep yourself on track while traveling.
Here is a guide to making sure you stay productive on your travels:
Organization is the first step to productivity. If you’re organized while you pack, you are less likely to forget important files and presentations. When you aren’t as worried about where things are, you have more time to get things done. Another important part of organizing is distinguishing between work and home. You may want to keep up with what’s happening at home, and traveling can be a great opportunity to get a jump on your taxes or to finally organize those vacation pictures, but trying to handle professional and personal tasks simultaneously will only slow you down. You can separate the two by creating different desktops and logins on your computer, which will keep your digital life in order.
Set a schedule
You always have to stay flexible when traveling because schedule changes can arise at any time. Nonetheless, if you fall into some sort of a routine, a setback like a delayed flight is much less likely to derail you. Setting aside a particular half hour in the morning to check and respond to e-mails means you won’t have it hanging over your head later. You can also schedule regular business meetings over phone or video chat, so your colleagues will know when they can reach you.
Bring a to-do list everywhere
Carry around a small notebook and pen or maintain an electronic to-do list. This way you can record tasks as they come to mind, instead of constantly repeating them to yourself or worrying about when they will be accomplished. When you find yourself sitting in a hotel room or waiting area, you can easily start knocking tasks off your to-do list. Once you start writing it down and crossing it off, you will be shocked by how much you have managed to do in your spare time.
Block out distractions
A baby crying in an airplane cabin is not conducive to productivity. Announcements, refreshment service and your fellow travelers can frequently interrupt you when you are traveling. Make a train or plane feel a little more like your office by tuning out these distractions. Pick up a good pair of earbuds or listen to music while doing your work. If you are distracted by the thought of others looking at your computer screen, you can purchase a privacy protection screen. When flying, instead of receiving your meal in separate courses, ask the flight attendant beforehand for the entire meal in one serving, so you can minimize the number of interruptions.
Exhaustion is the single greatest impediment to productivity. After all, you cannot accomplish anything when you’re half asleep. Business travel often involves stressful schedules and limited time to rest, so set aside time to recharge and reflect. This can help you stay on point in the long run.