Some of us see travel as blessing, and for others, it’s a curse. Whether you look forward to your next business trip, or are secretly dreading it, one thing is certain: travel can really disrupt our routines and productivity. For those in the “dreading it” camp, we hope these tips for staying productive and organised while travelling help ease some of your frustrations, so you can get back to enjoying travelling. And for those already on team travel, put some of these tips into practice to rock your business trip even more. In addition to increased productivity and organisation, putting some of these practices into play may help you achieve work-life balance and overall occupational wellness by allowing time for you to focus on what really matters.
Be proactive with your workload—Before you even hit the road, reevaluate your workload and determine what needs to get done before you leave, what you can handle while travelling, and what can wait until you return. Prepare a list of tasks you can complete in a variety of settings (think no wi-fi, loud airport, in a taxi, etc.) so that you don’t run out of things to do. Drafting emails can be done without connectivity, just as being on the phone is easy to do while in a car.
Stick to a schedule—once you have your workload in order, schedule out your time. Hopefully you have an agenda or scheduled meetings to work off of. Don’t forget to utilise travel time in your schedule. This will help you make the most of the time you have free.
Find an organisational system that keeps you sane—Whether it’s the Evernote app, bullet journaling, a day calendar, email folders or a simple to-do list (or any combination of the former), find a system that works for you—and stick to it while traveling. If you travel often, make sure to keep that in mind when developing your system. Relying on a tool that is only accessible with a wi-fi connection might not be your best option, for example.
Focus in blocks of time that work for you—How you work through your tasks is just as important as what you choose to track and prioritise. Your brain is not designed to function in parallel with an eight-hour workday. The ideal ratio of focused cognitive work to relaxation is 45-60 minutes of focus for every 15-20 minute break. During these breaks your mind needs to properly recharge through reading, walking or chatting, not checking emails and social media. This natural ebb and flow of energy and enthusiasm should help give you more focus and accomplish more in the same amount of time.
If you find you prefer to focus in shorter bursts, try the Pomodoro technique. Just pick one task and set aside a maximum of 10-25 minutes to accomplish it. Once you’re done, grab a drink, meditate for a few minutes or go for a short walk if you can. Complete this cycle four times and then take a longer break. Over time you’ll find you can focus for longer without procrastinating.
Be empowered to say “no” or delegate—Even with all the planning and organization, new work will come up while you are travelling, it is unavoidable. If the task is not something that can be easily completed while away, be empowered to say, “I will complete this once I return.” And if that is not option, delegate the task to someone back at the office who can handle it swiftly and quickly.
Nurture your passion—We oftentimes think productivity means getting stuff done. But that isn’t always the case. Productivity can equate to the effectiveness of using your time. Travel can present a great time to set down your to-do list and pick up the list of books, podcasts or articles you have wanted to dive into. Focusing on you and developing your skills, industry knowledge and expertise in different areas is a just as effective use of your time as completing tasks. Useful apps like Pocket let you store articles for later reading offline, cutting down on your procrastination but also giving you your own mobile library of knowledge, guides or even recipes to try once you’re back home.
Once you implement some of these useful tricks and habits into your travel routine, we hope you find travelling less stressful, more enjoyable and less taxing on your work-life balance. You might even find time in your day to recharge and feel energized by the ambiguity that travel can bring to your life. Whatever your desired outcome may be, focus on what matters to keep you well while on the road.
For more information on wellness while travelling, and how to become #travelproof, visit https://www.tandtstatesman.com/travelproof