Nine surefire tips to keep you humming and able to stay productive on your next work trip, no matter where you are.
A wise man once said, “The more you know, the less you need.” While this guiding principle was some years ago and made more in reference to the meaninglessness of material possessions as compared to the gifts of the mind, there is significant import from these simple words for the humble 21st century business traveller.
With different kinds of devices constantly evolving, this means you can do more while carrying less. Smartphones can now be used with a Bluetooth keyboard instead of a phone and a laptop, or you can use a tablet with built-in internet for working and voice calling, or have a hybrid laptop/device to do just about anything a desktop PC can do – take advantage of modern technology, and travel light.
Pack Calmly and Properly and Well in Advance
All those old wives’ tales and annoying sayings from your parents like – “a stitch in time saves nine” or “less haste more speed”, unfortunately do ring true when packing for your business trip. With the advent of lots of gizmos to help you travel lighter comes the need to pack more efficiently and be more streamlined in what you take, without forgetting really handy things like good walking shoes, or really essential things like your phone charger. So give yourself time to write the list of things to pack and check it twice, just like Santa.
Take Your WiFi With You
Even if there is free Wi-Fi in most areas when you travel, public Internet can not always be reliable over a longer period – so take your own. This is done in three ways: by ensuring you device/tablet has an integrated cellular modem; by investing in a Wi-Fi dongle, such as a MiFi; or by using your smartphone as a personal hotspot.
It is a simple thing to do that can take so much stress out of your travel and can make a big difference to what you get done on your travels, and your stress levels generally. For example, arriving at the airport a little early can mean getting through security before it gets too busy, enabling you to sit quietly somewhere and work or prepare rather than standing in a queue.
Losing power in the middle of your international presentation could be a career limiting move, so it is important to think about how you’ll be charging your devices while you are on the road. If you’re not sure how frequently you will have access to a power point, then packing extra batteries or using a battery case for your phone is good backup, but if not then pack a charger (or a multi-charger if you have several devices) and especially a power strip.
Noise-cancelling headphones are wonderful things in general, but they’re particularly useful up in the air, or on trains and any other form of transport where there’s a lot of background noise, and even very loud sounds. And now with new headphones, you will have time to listen to a Ted Talks or downloaded podcast, or you can use them for music or for an audiobook or so.
Work in Context
With your phone on airplane mode and your Wi-Fi off, you’ve got time to reflect, to write those emails you’ve been meaning to do for days. Use the tyranny of distance and your phone in flight mode setting to remove yourself from the day-to-day office operational stuff and spend time thinking, learning, and harnessing creative ideas. Catch up on industry-related reading and think about big picture concepts instead of everyday smaller stuff.
When the Internet is not your friend, take Your Online Stuff Offline
If you’re likely to need a whole lot of info stored in the cloud or in emails while on your travels, get an offline copy of it while you have full internet access. Include your travel documents, tickets and itineraries in this material – for those times when your phone/laptop dies.
Peaceful time does not have to mean time for peaceful work
In your down time at the end of the day, while the temptation is to take advantage of uninterrupted time, do cut yourself some slack and allow youself to relax, or make time to do enjoyable things like Skype friends and family. Another wise saying goes, “just because you can work 24/7 doesn’t mean you should.”
Feature image courtesy of Getty.