Working in the business world, you may find it necessary to work on the go. For some, you may find yourself more often in the air than on the ground. For others, it is more the exception than the norm. But the bottom line is when you are away from the office, you not only must continue to do your job, but you must also learn to manage yourself.
The following are some simple, but effective methods for improving your productivity when traveling or working away from the office:
1. Learn to say “No.” You’re not on vacation even if you’re working in Hawaii. Saying no to the beach now will allow you to manage your time and keep your deadlines.
2. Try to retain your normal sleep schedule. Obviously a three-day trip to Japan may make sticking to your home schedule difficult, but if you are staying in your time zone try to stick to your normal wake up times. This will help keep your focus throughout the day.
3. Create yourself an office space. It doesn’t matter if it is your hotel room, the local coffee shop or the library. Find a place that allows the least amount of distractions for you and plant yourself there. If you are going to be around distractions, consider a pair of the newest good travel headphones. Noise reduction can help to greatly improve your concentration.
4. Don’t forget the water! A recent study demonstrated that letting your body slip into dehydration even a little can decrease mental alertness and concentration. If you hit the gym before work, be sure to hydrate before you fire up the laptop.
5. Stay away from fast food. Although fast food is a tempting, quick and easy fix, a salad for lunch and a well-rounded dinner will leave your body happy and your mind productive.
6. Keep yourself organized and your time budgeted. Your Monday meetings can be part of the monotony of life back home, but on the road they can be easily forgotten. If you’re an Android or Apple user there are apps to help you manage your time wisely. You can even use the reminders feature in your TripCase app!
7. Exercise, exercise, exercise! Don’t allow being away from home to stop you from getting your sweat on. Call ahead to make sure the hotel you’re staying in has the type of workout equipment you like or look into bringing your own portable exercise gear.
8. Work offline. If it is possible, put your personal phone on airplane mode and disable its Wi-Fi until you are finished with your work. This will prevent you from becoming distracted by an onslaught of texts, phone calls and social media notifications.
9. Take breaks. Being alone on the road can offer you a great chance to push through tasks. But without your co-workers around to provide you with natural breaks, it’s up to you ensure that you don’t burn yourself out. Something as simple as walking around the block, stretching or even laying down for 10-15 minutes can recharge your batteries.
10. Set goals with clear rewards. You may not be able to spend all day on the beach, but once you accomplish project goals give yourself a reward and block out some “you time.”
A good rule of thumb when you are on the road is to ask yourself, “what would I do at home?” Stick to normal schedules, eat right and don’t neglect exercise. By following these simple guidelines, you will find yourself more efficient and focused, even on the road.