For most business owners, traveling can really throw us off our routines. We may try to work while we’re out, but we still end up back in the office with a pile of emails to sort through, and plenty of things that slipped through the cracks.
I’ve traveled a lot, and I’ve figured out a few strategies that help me. Hopefully they’ll help you too.
If you know you’re traveling (for business or pleasure) in several weeks, start your planning now. Check your calendar to see if you have meetings or deadlines that week. For phone or Skype meetings, make sure your travel schedule allows you to still participate. Reschedule any others.
Then, for any work you have due that week, start chipping away at it the weeks before your trip. You’ll clear your plate while you’re out, and your clients will be thrilled to get their work turned in early.
Let Clients Know You’ll Be Out
Most, if not all, of your clients can survive without you for a few days. It’s simply easier to be unavailable while traveling, even if you do have time to get some work done. If clients know not to expect a response to any email sent to you during this period, you’ll receive fewer emails.
Set your vacation autoresponder up for the duration of your travels. Even if you can respond to emails, you won’t feel pressured to reply to non-essential emails.
Carve Out Time to Work
I love using plane time to work, and now that wi-fi is more readily available on most flights, it makes staying on top of work easy, and helps me feel like I’m making the most of my time.
If you need to work throughout your trip, set it up on your calendar. I find that working early in the morning is best, as I’m often too wiped out after a day of meetings or networking to get much done in the evenings. Even working an hour or two a day can help mitigate what’s waiting for you on your return.
Also, plan what you need to work on while traveling. If you have pressing work that needs to get done asap, focus on that. Or use it to work on projects you otherwise don’t dedicate much time to (especially since things should be quiet if you let everyone know you’ll be traveling), such as starting writing that book you promised yourself you’d write.
Give Yourself a Break
You probably have higher expectations for what you need to get done while traveling than anyone else, so cut yourself some slack and enjoy the downtime. Hit the pool after a conference, or enjoy a nice meal without work talk. You’ll come back to the office refreshed and ready to tackle the world.