I travel a lot, both for business and pleasure. Most of the time, I’m also working while on the plane, in the hotel room, and shuttling from place to place. It can be a lot to manage, trying to focus on the client meeting or conference I’m headed to a speaking engagement, while still taking care of my to-dos and ever-growing email inbox. But, fear not. I’ve found a few strategies that help me cope. Here are 5 tips to keep working while traveling from stressing you out.
Tip 1: Get Mobile
While I always have my laptop when I travel and work, but I wouldn’t survive without my mobile wi-fi and my smartphone. With these two items, I can work from anywhere, and I avoid the expensive hotel wi-fi. These tools allow me to develop content, read and respond to emails, make calls to clients on the road. Also if I need to map my way to a meeting and I can use my laptop in the rental car, and more. These days, there’s an app for just about everything, from GateGuru, which gives me the lay of any given airport, to Yelp, which helps me find the best place to take a client to dinner.
Tip 2: Let People Know You’ll Be Unavailable
When I don’t plan to check email or work (hello, sunny beach!) I let my clients and staff know I won’t be available several weeks in advance. That lets us come up with a plan to take care of any projects before I leave for vacation, and I don’t have to check my email, concerned that someone will need to reach me while I’m trying to relax. Also be sure to use an auto responder to tell people how long you’ll be away and when you are back in the office.
Tip 3: Work Around Your Travel Schedule
I know, I know: traveling gets you off your game. Your schedule gets all whacked out when you’re on a plane for half a day, wasting hours on flight delays, and then spending odd hours at a conference. I find a new work schedule while I’m traveling. I like to get work done on the plane that doesn’t necessarily require wi-fi. But if the plane does have wi-fi, I will respond to emails too. When I’m at the hotel, I work early in the morning. I still manage to get quite a bit of work done, even though I’m breaking up my schedule.
Tip 4: Plan Travel Around Business Opportunities
I recently went on a book tour for my book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months. Rather than flying from one end of the country to another, I lumped my appearances into geographic proximity so that I minimized my travel and could visit several cities that were relatively close to one another. I can’t tell you how much this cut down on my stress and I snuck in a family visit and dinners with friends too.
Tip 5: Seek Out Business Contacts
If you are going to a city for a conference, look through your LinkedIn list and see who you know in that city. Going out for coffee with a contact you’ve never met in person provides you with opportunity to help one another. It’s those serendipitous conversations, I find, that often lead to business referrals.
Traveling can be stressful, even for a veteran at it like me. Find ways to maximize your time, get work done, and still have time to relax.