How to keep productive when travelling


A common problem I come across when working with people is that when you have a busy travel schedule it knocks out your usual routine and emails and actions build up, which means you're twice as busy when you return.

So, how do you stay productive?

Plan time at the beginning and end of the day -  to deal with day-to-day actions while you're away or to touch base with the office.

Use Cloud technology to access important documents while you're away - Dropbox and Google Drive are two great ways to share documents across your devices and with your team or clients.

Set aside time to check your emails.  Even a short burst of 15-30 minutes enables you to keep up to date.  Delete any spam and 'ping-pong' emails (those where ongoing conversations are bouncing to and fro) and flag important ones to deal with later or forward them for delegation.

While wi-fi free on a train or plane it's a great time to blast through emails without getting distracted by new one's.  You'll be surprised how much you can get done without your usual distractions and interruptions.

Catch-up on reading.  Time spent waiting in airports and stations is a good opportunity to keep up to date with some of those articles you've put aside to 'read later'.  When you're away from your usual routine it also provides time to think up new ideas and opportunities.

Delegate as much as possible while you're away, so the day to day running of the business can carry on in your absence without needing your constant input.  You can then focus on the purpose of the trip without interruptions.

If you have an assistant - they can filter and prioritise your emails for you and in some cases respond on your behalf, so you have less to deal with while you're away or on your return.

Review and update at the end of each day.  Make a note of any follow-ups and actions as you go along, so there'll be less to do when you get back.

While you want to maximise your time while you're away, give yourself time to recover from a long journey or after a busy day of meetings.

Make sure you allow catch-up time on your return.  Don't schedule a busy morning of meetings on your first day back - keep your diary free for at least an hour or two, so you can plan your week/day, set aside time for the follow-up and actions that have come out of your trip.

Manage your travel schedule - I've seen people who frequently plan back-to-back trips, hardly pausing for breath between one trip and the next.  Be realistic about how many days travelling you can practically managed in a week or a month while still staying productive and finding time for your family and friends when you get back.

World-travel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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