Most of us file travel days in the “lost” category, thanks to the amount of time squandered getting where we have to go. With the fast pace of business, you really can’t afford to lose days to travel. Here are some suggestions for how to make the most of your time while you’re traveling.
First of all, be smart in how you book your travel. Even if your company has someone responsible for arranging itineraries, it’s worth the extra time to investigate the best options and communicate them to your travel arranger. Don’t let that investigation become a time sink, though. It’s not worth saving $50 if it takes an hour of your billable time to find that savings. Time is money, and your time per hour needs to be invested wisely each day.
Commit to getting to your departure gate at least 45 minutes before boarding begins. This will give you time to check email and stay on top of whatever needs your attention before you’re unavailable for 2 – 4 hours. Running your timeline right to the wire — and showing up to the airport at the last possible minute — creates stress, which makes you less productive. Organize your time so you can have time to be useful to those who need to hear from you.
We all can access email and messages on our mobile devices, but do you really want to wrestle with your laptop while confined to that less-than-comfortable-anyway airplane seat? Utilizing an iPad with a keyboard means you get to work quicker, thus getting more work done. Consider getting a portable Wifi device so you’re not dependent on the wifi in the airport or on the train. This also lets you connect at the hotel as well, and probably costs a lot less per month than the hotel wifi fees.
As you prepare for your travel day, think about where you’ll be and what you can accomplish. Phone calls aren’t well-received when boarding announcements blare in the background. But if you’re going to have a decent amount of time en route to your hotel after you land, schedule some calls to make the best use of that time.
You may not like this last one, but it has saved my sanity more than once: work ahead. Again, think about what kind of travel experience you want to have. Do you want to be stressed, worried about your big project that will be waiting for you when you return? Or would you like to be able to focus on the business — or pleasure — at hand, which is why you took this trip in the first place. Working ahead will create that head space necessary to be productive while you’re gone as well as when you return.
What do you do to get work done on your trips? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.
Photo credit: Traveling Otter (Wikimedia/Flickr, Creative Commons)