The thing about traveling is this: In theory, you have a lot of free time. The issue is that, of all places to work, a crowded airport, a full flight, and a red-eye schedule aren't precisely the ideal storm of circumstances. Being productive while traveling entails finding ways to create your own "space" and find your zone even in chaos. Three rows up, a crying baby? Take out your headphones. Flight delay? Locate a wall outlet, plug in your laptop, sit on the floor near the large windows, and get to work. Half of the battle is a mindset.
The tips below will also be much easier to implement to stay productive and energized if you are not constantly on the road. Although it is possible to remain productive while moving around more, it will necessitate a certain level of discipline.
So, from the start, be honest with yourself. Decide ahead of time whether you want to spend time in one place for a few weeks at a time or flit from location to location every 3-5 days.
Utilize Your Time with These 9 Guides While You Travel
Planning is critical. Keeping productive while traveling is all about staying one step ahead. Schedule all of the time-related items you need to have on hand (flights, meetings, events, etc.) in your calendar, along with all of the information on everything (flight numbers, hotel reservations, contacts, addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
How do you intend to spend your free time once you have a firm grasp of your schedule? Learn about the city? Attend a performance? Attend a gathering? Are you working on a personal project? Create a new product? Gather all of the information about the activities you want to pursue.
A daily planner can help you stay more productive by organizing your daily tasks efficiently.
2. Listen to Podcasts
If your journey requires a lot of driving, you will inevitably not have much time to work. During this time, you can listen to educational or inspirational podcasts, such as TED Talks Daily. When you're on the road, hearing the insights of others based on their personal or professional lives can be invaluable and emotionally stimulating.
3. If You are Unable to Work, Study
Productivity does not always imply "getting things done." It can also be about learning and studying so that when the opportunity to sit down and work presents itself, you are better prepared. Pack a few books or kindle before your trip. Change the script to emphasize "input" rather than "output." This can also be an effective way to stay "productive."
4. Maintain Control of Your Environment
The environment becomes unpredictable and difficult to control when you're out there. Maybe you thought you would review certain documents during a train journey that will last a couple of hours. But you never know who will sit next to you, so I recommend you always have your travel headphones and music to help you concentrate while protecting you from a noisy environment. Depending on the person and the work to be undertaken, the type of music can be very different, and that's always a personal choice.
5. Prepare for the Unexpected
It would help if you were ready for anything. When traveling, things happen; there are plans that change, flights that are delayed, etc. That creates opportunities for unexpected free time that will be unproductive and a cause of frustration if you're not prepared.
6. Consider the Big Picture
One of the most productive things you can do when you're on the travel is to think broadly about the business. Invest a few small blocks of time to consider how you can grow your business more creatively, improve efficiency and productivity, and who you can reach out to and help them exceed their goals. These big picture moments will help put into perspective, once again, the reason for your travels and the difference you can make for your company and in your career.
7. Make the Most of Unexpected Networking Opportunities
Being on the road is an excellent opportunity to meet new people from various walks of life and broaden your network.
Take time to network and strike up conversations with people you meet along the way, whether you're at the airport, in your hotel, or exploring the destinations. They may be able to help you professionally if they work in a similar field and can provide a new perspective on something you're working on.
8. Invest in Travel-friendly Electronics
If you want to stay productive while traveling, consider purchasing a Wi-Fi Jetpack, backup batteries, small extension cords, or even wireless charging banks for your other electronics. None of these things are critical or necessary, but they help maintain efficiency no matter where you are!
9. Give Some Time to Yourself
The most important thing to remember is to make time for yourself. It's great to be productive and feel more energized, but as Ferris Bueller famously said, "Life moves pretty quickly. You might miss it if you don't stop and look around now and then!" Make time to enjoy yourself, relax, and explore the place you're visiting. It will give your brain some time to decompress and enjoy the little things so that when it comes time to work again, you will be fresh and ready to go.
Do you have any other clever suggestions for staying productive while traveling? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!