“There’s nothing that can ruin a schedule, suck up more time, sap more energy, and otherwise cause more chaos and problems than travel, so you must take many proactive steps to protect yourself – and your time – as best you can.”
Dan Kennedy, Businessman, Author and Speaker
Travelling can be exhausting!
I’ve travelled extensively for business for the last 10 years. At my peak I averaged more than 250 days a year on the road. I decided to enjoy the experience, as it was such a huge part of my life.
For me, enjoying the journey is as important as enjoying the work when I get there. Once I’ve checked in at the airport or packed the car I’m excited to be embarking on the journey. Travelling is tiring and sometimes frustrating and it’s easy to get out of balance.
My approach to any business travel always focuses on two aspects:
- Travelling from A to B as effectively as possible
- To be as productive as possible while I’m there
Today I have created a business that has allowed me to reduce my travel schedule – It’s a lifestyle choice. I travel less but still use the following tips that helped me to survive during those intense travel years!
Here are some of them:
Get organised – Planning is key. My business trips are busy, but organised so I can be as productive as possible without burning out. (I learned this the hard way!) You have to be disciplined in your approach if you want to be effective.
Book in advance – Book hotels, flights, car rental and accommodation in advance –Doing it last minute is stressful!
Know WHY you’re going – Get clear on your intention for the trip. What are the outcomes you’d like to achieve? WHY are YOU going?
Maximise the time while you’re there – I look for opportunities to be as productive as possible enroute and while I’m in town. I try to plug in meetings with clients or contacts. Joining the dots of a trip makes you feel more in control.
Pack two days before – So you’re not running around like an idiot and realising you forgot to buy stuff. Last minute packing is stressful. I’ve still been packing at 2 am before leaving home for a 5am start – Duh!
Plan any work you intend to do – If I’m flying or on a train I decide what work I’ll do as I travel and for how long. It’s amazing what you can get done if you think about it in advance!
Catch up – Planes and trains (especially on a long trip) are great places to catch up on reading and learning. I always download audios for flights.
Relax and snooze – Travel is tiring. Step away from working and allow yourself time to relax, watch a movie or snooze. It’s okay to do this! Plan time to rest on an evening and times in between the working day. It’s easy for boundaries to bleed away when you’re staying in a hotel… You just end up working ALL the time!
Thinking time – I love flying because you get alone time where you’re free from interruptions and distractions. Allow your mind to relax and wonder… I’ve had ideas for blog posts, workshops and even solved a pressing problem or two!
Get to the airport in good time – If you’re flying, that is! So you have time to check in and relax before the flight. I usually use the business lounge to relax.
Avoid travelling in the rush hour – Avoid arriving or leaving in the rush hour. This is a time sucker and I’ve sometimes missed my connections.
You don’t have to be first on board – Some people like pushing, elbowing and fighting their way to be the first on board a flight. Fly business class if possible – it’s less stressful.
Book a driver instead of a taxi – Pre-booking a pick up sedan service is only about £10 extra and you miss the queues at the taxi rank! The drivers are courteous and helpful. The cars are well looked after and clean too (it also stops you being ripped-off!)
Self-care all the way – I used to be the queen of timezone surfing, with little or no effect on me. As I’m getting older I’m finding that I need time to rest and recover, especially when it’s a long haul trip. Allow time for this, especially when you’re surfing timezones! Exercise and stretch during travelling. Use the hotel gym. I usually go there as soon as I arrive – just for 30 minutes to shake off the effects of travelling (unless it’s midnight!).
Drink plenty of water – Your metabolism changes at altitude so the effects of drinking alcohol is heightened when you’re flying. Avoid this if possible because it makes you feel sluggish and kills your productivity. I drink loads of water to keep hydrated as I travel.
Eat healthy – It’s easy to snack and eat junk food when travelling. Again, this can effect your well-being. Look for salads and healthier options. Make time for breakfast. I increase my intake of natural herbs and remedies to keep my immune system smiley and any travel bugs at bay.
Get some sleep – Set some boundaries so you get a chance to catch up on your sleep and go to bed early. It’s tempting to stay out late every night because you’re frightened of missing something – this is exhausting! It’s okay to say ‘no’ and get some rest. You’ll be more effective… Trust me!
Power down smart devices – I frequently watch business people using their phones constantly as they travel. Endless phone meetings are exhausting especially as you’re trying to board a plane! Sometimes our ego takes over to make the call look important! Power down the phone, check it occasionally – don’t let it control you.