Many of us travel for work and I thought you might enjoy this article published in MeetingsNet magazine on ways to be super-productive when you travel! Enjoy.
When you tell people that you travel the globe organizing, planning, and facilitating events for your super-cool clients, do they say, “Wow, that sounds so glamorous”? Little do they know just how much work that entails—not to mention airport delays, weather, confusing airport hubs, mechanical breakdowns, crying babies…
As a productivity and attention expert, I am constantly on the road like you—it’s just part of our chosen professions. And it can be hard to get everything done that needs doing.
Here are 10 strategies to help you be more productive before you hop aboard your next plane:
1. Buy the tools and the apps—you need music, noise-cancelling headphones (expensive I know, but worth it), and your smart phone. Load your phone with apps to make your travel life easier: Pzizz (one of my fave power-napping apps), Evernote,Expedia, Gate Guru, Seat Guru … the list is endless. What is your fave app for traveling? Please share it in the comments below.
2. Create a travel outfit—put together an outfit that you can easily wear through security without totally getting undressed! Try slip-on shoes, minimum jewelry, and fabulous non-creasing fabric.
This video will provide you more tips for traveling and answer the following questions:
- How not to fall behind on work and clients while on the road traveling?
- What are the best apps and systems to use to manage the details of the trip?
- What’s the best, most durable luggage for frequent travelers?
3. Pre-pack Ziploc bags to include travel-sized everything! You just know that the day you try to sneak through a larger size is going to be the day TSA decides to check your bag.
4. Create a survival kit—Stow the things you know you’ll need in your carry on. I always include earphones, lip balm, an eye mask (for longer flights), pen, eye drops, travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste, a pashmina throw (in case it’s chilly), and breath mints (yes, please do everyone a favor and use mints!).
5. Get a Platinum Amex card—yes, it’s expensive, but, because it often gives you access to U.S. airline lounges, it’s cheaper than joining all the airline clubs. Their Centurion Lounge access is so worth it, and they are opening more around the U.S.
6. Create fun out-of-office messages—manage the email and voicemail expectations of those who want your attention. Make it a fun message that you can share with clients about what you are doing and when you will return. Think about how you can surprise and delight your callers with your out-of-office message.
7. Plan to work one way—I use the trip away for the client and the trip home for myself. So I might work on a presentation or read notes on the way over, but on the trip home I often have a little nap or read for pleasure. Can you divide up your trip?
8. Allow an extra 30 minutes—add a half-hour to the amount of time you think it will take you to get to the airport or station. It will save you a stressful race to the gate if you find yourself stuck in traffic or the security line is longer than you expected. You may not need it, but you can always use it for something else!
9. Bring a list of clients to call—airport down time is a brilliant time to catch up on your business development activities, so always carry a list of people you can call. Even though it’s noisy, it’s a great way to make travel time more productive. Make the most of those extra minutes.
10. Bring thank-you note materials—carry stamped stationery with you (yes that’s right, the old-fashioned kind), and use some of your travel down time to write thank-you notes. No one send notes anymore, so this is a great way to stand out in a digital communication world—you’ll be the exception whose personal touch will get attention!
Bonus tip: If you want to be even more productive when you get to your destination … go to the bar! I know that sounds crazy, but if you are an extrovert you might work better around people and noise.
How do you make your travel time more productive?