Category: Travelling

Travelling Tired or Tired of Travelling?

By , November 14, 2013 8:43 pm

photo(16)Having spent many years on the road, I’m a seasoned traveller. I’ve always got a suitcase packed. As an international learning consultant and coach, I stay in hotels approximately 2-3 nights per week!

As I’ve gotten older, although I love adventure, the travelling has become a harder slog for me and if I’m not organised, it can be quite exhausting.

In the past few weeks I’ve coached three people who have struggled with overwhelm and exhaustion during their business travel.

Traveling for work can be intense because you push yourself to a full schedule, packing everything in to maximise your time away. You travel home and plow straight back into a busy schedule of catch up. Returning home can make you feel out of control, tired, exhausted, and burned out.

Here’s what I’ve learned about travelling:

  1. Travelling IS tiring – Whether you’re flying to India on business or attending a conference 120 miles from home, travelling is tiring — both mentally and physically. Lugging cases around, catching trains, planes, and taxis involve extra effort.
  2. Your routine is gone – Your routine is thrown out of sync because you’re doing something different. You might be leaving loved ones at home or taking them with you. You might be in a different time zone so your body clock gets confused.
  3. You work longer hours – Boundaries of working can become blurred because you’re staying in a hotel. There’s nothing else to do but work! A client recently told me that while in Singapore she ended up working local office hours and then continued working her usual UK time, as they came online. She was working 16 hour days!
  4. Hotel living – While the idea of staying in a 5 star hotel and resort may sound appealing, after two weeks you can become a little stir-crazy, especially if you’re travelling alone. You can wake up not knowing where you are. You can feel lonely and out of alignment with yourself. Eating alone in restaurants can feel uncomfortable.
  5. You eat unhealthily – It’s easy to eat unhealthy while travelling. Grabbing high sugar food because it’s easy. Also flying business class brings free alcohol on tap and good eating habits get forgotten as we eat ‘on the go.’

Here’s how to integrate with your travel schedule:

Plan the day before your trip to allow yourself time to pack and prepare. Don’t rush around last minute. This can cause you anxiety, stress and overwhelm – and you’re more likely to forget something!

During the Trip

  • Look after your body – Build some exercise time into your day. This could be ½ session at the hotel gym or sit ups in your room. Exercise helps you mentally and physically. I often go straight to the gym for 30 minutes when I arrive at a hotel.
  • Eat healthy – Carry healthy snacks with you. Look for healthier options as you travel. Make a conscious choice. Don’t skip meals or eat ‘junk’ because it’s better than nothing! Travel makes you dehydrate so be sure to drink loads of water!
  • Get some sleep – Have an early night. It’s easy to stay up late especially if you’re in a different time zone.
  • Treat yourself – Get a massage when you arrive or before you leave. I do this every time I fly in and out of the USA. It really helps me to re-align my mind and body.
  • Have a night off – You don’t have to go out with friends or colleagues every evening. Sometimes we do this for FOMS (Fear of Missing Something!). Listen to your body, not your head!

Arriving Home

I call this my Integration Day.

  • Allow one 1 day to recover from any significant travel and be gentle on yourself. Allow time to unwind from the road and adjust back into your home environment and routine. Otherwise it’s easy to get overwhelmed and over tired.
  • Self-care is paramount – listen to your body. Eat healthily and nap if you’re tired.
  • Allow time for unpacking.
  • Do things little and often and gently to integrate back into your routine.
  • Set boundaries with work so it’s not full on when you return from a trip. You’ll do a better job if you’re refreshed and not burned out!

Create some good habits, systems, and rituals and look after yourself when you travel. Build in some integration time so you can adjust to your changing environments.

Why Busy People Need to Take Holidays!

By , July 17, 2013 11:25 am

Deckchair and parasol on white background. Isolated 3D image“If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.”

~Herodotus

So many of my clients are working too hard and not taking any time to rest, relax and recover from the demands they are placing on themselves everyday.

Achieving a healthy balance in life and work requires discipline. In other words, you have to work at it by setting some clear boundaries and have the persistence to make it happen.

We all have busy lives which is why it is hugely important to power down and take time away from the ‘do-do’ of doing and spend some time ‘being.’ Otherwise you can easily lose focus and perspective about WHY you are doing all this busy stuff in the first place. You become out of alignment with what’s really important in your life.

I take my holiday time very seriously because it keeps me healthy, happy and sane. I also feel refreshed and I’m more productive when I return.

Okay… I know what you’re probably saying: The last thing you instinctively want to do is to slow down! You haven’t got time to slow down because you’ve got too much stuff to do – right?

Holiday time is often put off until later because you never get round to it. Your personal time at the weekend is frequently held hostage to busy-ness. It is used as a buffer so we can ‘catch up’ and finish the work we were unable to do during the week.

Because you are always on the go you probably won’t see tiredness and exhaustion creeping up on you.

Human beings are not designed to work at this pace constantly. There’s loads of research to prove that biologically we need to step away and take breaks to charge our batteries and rest. Some people are literally killing themselves!

You need to take time out to relax, regenerate, reconnect and renew your love affair with your life!

STOP and take a break…

For me, regeneration time involves no work-related activity at all. I might take a day, a weekend or even a whole week.

Here’s how I create mine…

  • Schedule pockets of regeneration time in advance and commit to them (a day, weekend or week). Book several long weekends or weeks out during the year. These could be trips away from home. If you don’t make a plan – it WON’T happen!
  • Set clear boundaries – Regeneration time is where everything is powered down. That includes phones and computers. The day is COMPLETELY work-free. Don’t read the newspapers, watch television or listen to the radio. Step away. Teach other people how to treat you – no compromising! They’ll get the message and will start to respect your boundaries.
  • Leave the ‘office’ – Commit to being out of your office (away from work). This could also be your busy home life as well as your work. You’re not contactable or available to anyone: staff, colleagues, co-workers, boss, and even family (unless of course there is a REAL emergency). It’s interesting how some urgent things aren’t really that important. Don’t get sucked into the drama!
  • Delegate responsibility and ownership – Allow others to take responsibility and ownership for their own decisions during your time away. They can handle things for themselves and learn how to make their own decisions instead of relying on you all the time. This builds self-confidence and helps them to develop their own decision-making ability.
  • Focus on being fully present and having fun – What do you enjoy doing? Start doing some of them. I love hiking and immersing myself in the beauty of Nature. Breathing the mountain air or feeling a warm sea breeze on my face really invigorates me. It makes me feel alive again.What does fun mean to you?

Create your own list. Here are a few of my favorite things:

  • Hiking
  • Having a massage
  • Booking a long weekend away in a hotel
  • A spa day
  • Walking on the beach
  • Hanging out with friends I’ve not seen for a while
  • Skiing
  • Sleeping in
  • Experiencing another country

Regeneration days are all about restoring and resetting your energy. You may have work withdrawal symptoms for the first day or so of a holiday, but you’ll soon re-adjust and embrace your newly found freedom time. You’ll soon start to feel relaxed as you stop listening to that busy voice in your head.

Take a break – I guarantee that you will become more rested, relaxed and more productive when you return to your busy life.

Stepping away will help you to re-focus on what really is important in your life.

Busy successful people take holidays!

 

How to travel for business and still be productive!

By , May 16, 2012 5:12 pm

“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:

  1. Travelling from A to B as effectively as possible
  2. 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.

Happy travels! :-)

 

 

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