How to Stay Productive on Your Business Trip

Editor’s Note: We’d like to thank our guest blogger, Lisa Michaels, for this excellent contribution. Check her bio on the bottom so you can follow Lisa on Twitter!  

Traveling for business can be a great experience, especially if you’re a “bleisure” traveler. In addition to getting some work done, you also get a chance to meet new cultures and experience things that you might not otherwise be able to. However, if you’re jet-lagged, tired, and generally stressed, your trip might not be a relaxing experience. With a lack of exercise, unhealthy meals, and demanding meetings, it can be very hard to stay productive during your business trip.

Despite the difficulty in staying on the same efficient standard that you’re used to, there are some steps you can take to stay as productive as possible when you’re traveling for business. Here are four tips that can help you.

Plan Everything in Advance

Before you’re ready to leave, take the time to come up with a comprehensive plan. Try to plan out every hour and every activity that you’ll be engaged in. Create a schedule that you can attempt to stick with while you’re on the trip. Things may change with layovers and unknown travel times, but you can adjust it as you go.

Include everything that you would normally do in a typical day if possible. Allow time for sleep, meals, exercise, relaxation, meetings, and work. By taking these steps, you can also come up with a rough budget for your trip. This may be necessary for your employer or simply to manage your own finances. 

Don’t forget to make a list of all the documents you need for meetings with your clients or business partners. Also, make sure you set the agenda well in advance so you can streamline your meetings and make them as effective as possible. Another good idea is to start a folder with your flight itinerary, hotel information, and any other travel documents that you may need. That way, you’ll have all the relevant information on hand. 

Be Prepared for Sudden Changes

Although you’ve got a detailed itinerary, it might need to be adjusted on the fly. When this happens, don’t get discouraged. Instead, just stay flexible and be willing to make some changes. Make a list of things that you can do if you have any downtime, for example during flight delays and layovers.

It’s a good idea to download any documents that you may need to access before you leave instead of relying on access to the cloud. You never know when you won’t have internet access. This will enable you to get some work done while you’re waiting for your flight or during any other down time. You can, for example, reply to emails or texts, finish documents, review reports or prepare for meetings.

It’s wise to plan ahead for the possibility of lost luggage as well. Instead of putting all of your essentials in your checked luggage, keep important things with you in your carry-on bag. Anything that you can’t do without should be in your satchel for easy access.

Be Tech-Savvy

Take some time to plan out your technology usage for your trip. Will you need to do a lot of accessing and editing documents? If so, do you need your laptop or could you get by with just your tablet or smartphone? By thinking about your needs for the trip, you might be able to leave some devices at home and pack a little lighter. Ultimately, the fewer items you have to keep up with on your trip, the better off you will be.

Look into the internet access of where you’ll be staying before you leave. See what kind of internet access your hotel has, as well as the conference center or other locations you’ll be visiting. Make sure you can check in with the office often and stay available to your employees or colleagues.

Download any apps that might be helpful on your trip ahead of time. For example, if you’re traveling abroad, Google Translate might come in handy. With this app, you can take a picture of a sign with your smartphone and it will translate it into English. Tripit is another handy app to have while you’re traveling. It helps organize your entire trip by keeping all of your travel plans in one place.

Find Time for Yourself

Business trips can be a physically and emotionally draining experience. You need to keep in mind that, even though it is a business trip, it can’t all be just about business. In order to be fully productive on your business trip, you need to allow time for yourself to relax.

While you are at the hotel make use of the hotel gym and get some exercise that will help you relieve stress. Find time to take a walk around the city, enjoy the sights and eat at a local cafe. You might be stuck eating fast food while you’re rushing to meetings or conferences, so make sure you eat a healthy and nourishing meal.

Most importantly, make sure you get enough sleep. Your business partners and clients shouldn’t remember you for being grouchy and stressed.

Final Thoughts

When traveling for business it can be difficult to stick to your routine and this can throw you off in a big way. Instead of staying on top of your regular tasks, you might be stuck in meetings, or on a layover at the airport.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can make the most of your next business trip. Being prepared for everything and sticking to your schedule is key. Remember that allowing some time to get away from work mentally could make all the difference.

About the Author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland who loves to travel. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and technology. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

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