Staying Productive On the Road
Monday, January 17, 2011
In support of the current “Country Means Business” promotion, Road Warriorette will be featuring a weekly sponsored post on behalf of Country Inns & Suites and has been compensated by Country Inns & Suites for her contribution.
When you travel for work constantly, you practice a lot of skills; packing, unpacking, navigating airport security, and checking into hotels quickly come to mind. But perhaps the most important thing road warriors practice is staying productive. It is so tempting to stretch out on that comfy hotel bed, reach for the remote, and zone out while waiting for room service. Unfortunately, that means that the hundred emails that built up during your meetings go unanswered, and you have to suffer through the backlog when you get home. Over the years, I’ve developed strategies for getting my work completed without making myself into a crazy workaholic. It’s not a perfect system, and is always evolving, but I get way more done than I used to.
- Get your mind in the game. A lot of being productive is mindset. I don’t want to work right now! I want to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy! Whenever I travel on a Thursday, I inevitably think this when it’s time to work. Sometimes the only thing that gets me going is a reminder that by watching TV now, I will have to work more at home, leaving less time to hang out with my husband, dogs, and friends. Plus I DVR my favorite shows, which means they will take even less time to watch at home.
- Set up wherever you can work. What does business mean to you? When I am at home, I don’t work at a desk, but in my favorite armchair. I have discovered that in a hotel, my most productive workplace is the armchair, with my feet up. If my room has no chair, I will try the bed or desk, but will often end up in the hotel lobby. For that matter, if you get tired or distracted in your room, the lobby can be a great place to work. And there is often never ending coffee. (Check out the great lobby areas at Country Inns & Suites! Armchairs and fireplaces make a great place to work.)
- Make a list. I know, it’s standard advice, but I love lists and find they solve all sorts of problems. I can motivate myself more when I see the progress I’m making, and what I have yet to do. As I cross items off, it gives me a great feeling of accomplishment, and I am that much more productive moving forward.
- Take advantage of any downtime. As road warriors, we all know that our office is anywhere we set up our laptops. Take advantage of “found” time to get your tasks done. If you arrive at the airport earlier than you expected, rather than flip through Us Weekly you can go through your emails. If your meeting starts late, it’s a great time to fine-tune a presentation. And for those of you can work while flying, you can get much done en route to your next destination.
- Reward yourself. Once you’ve completed everything, give yourself something nice. Indulge in a bath, eat a great meal or finally watch that show. You’ve earned it!
One final reminder: don’t make yourself crazy. Yes, we all have work we have to do, and it is easy to get sucked in. But working non-stop can do more harm than good. Just step away from the computer for a few minutes and clear your mind. Walk around the building, talk to a friend, eat a chocolate, or just zone out. It’s important to be productive, but not work so hard that you make yourself sick!
About Road Warriorette
Road Warriorette is a twenty-something professional who travels for work. A lot. At her blog Road Warriorette, she shares advice, observations, and insights for women who travel for work, or for fun, or who would like to travel more.