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11 Tricks to Stay Productive When You’re Traveling

Kurt BirkenhagenKurt Birkenhagen

travel tips

Learn to Stay Productive When Traveling

In theory, traveling for work is glamorous. You imagine flights in first class, where you sit beside famous basketball players and are fed warm cashews from a crystal jar.

You’ll cruise around a foreign landscape in a luxury sports car—on a mission to kick ass and take names. The room service… the maid service… Ahh.

Reality check.

Business travel is seldom glamorous at all. And it’s often unproductive. Sure, we accomplish what we set out to do once we get to our destination, but what about our other work responsibilities?

The secret to staying productive while you travel is to maximize short time blocks.

Here are 11 things you can do to be highly productive in short blocks of time, so you’ll be prepared to fit in at least one handful of cashews on your next business trip (Kobe Bryant sightings are not guaranteed):

1) List love
At least a day before you leave, create a list of things you want to get done while you’re on the road. Do you need to get an article written? Get some reading done? Listen to webinars? Make calls?

Given the length of time you’ll be travelling, assess when would be the best time to complete the tasks.

For example, you can listen to audio while you walk through the airport or sit in a cab. Reading can be done on the plane, where you may be too crunched to write comfortably. Writing? Get ‘er done during the layover.

2) Pack smart
Why does the laptop charger always miss the trip? Create a packing list of what you need to bring—before the travel stress kicks in.

Sounds trying? Check out the PackingPro app. It was made for you. You’re welcome.

3) Porta-power
Travel prepared to work whether you have Internet access or not, even if your phone or laptop runs out of power. If you know you can’t work without power, pack a battery backup or a solar charger.

4) Dial in
Be present for the meetings that matter back at home with your dial-in conferencing service, which you can access from your phone, of course.

5) Apps for that
Download the app of the airline carrier you’ll be using. Traveling internationally? Consider the iStone app for efficient communication tools in 12 languages. Want entertainment in short chunks AND a way to make yourself more interesting? Get the TEDtalks app and watch engaging people share brilliant ideas—in three to thirty-minute chunks.

6) Listen
Visit or sync the business-related MP3s you’ve been meaning to listen to.

7) Be social
If you happen to be in a client’s city for even a few hours, take a shot at meeting them for coffee. Follow up with a business contact. You never know where a little networking can lead.

8) All aboard
When possible, travel by train or subway. The longer journey provides the perfect excuse to catch up on your industry’s latest news and put the finishing touches on your winning business report.

9) No hands
Add this to your packing list: a hands-free device. Now you’ll be able to tee up the 10-15 calls you’ve been meaning to make. Add those numbers to your contacts list so you can access them easily while you drive.

Best of all, hands-free devices are totally luxury convertible friendly.

10) Mobile to the max
Sometimes you just really need to check your email. MiFi devices are great for instant, personal Internet hotspots from anywhere.

One example is Karma. It costs $79 for a card-deck sized device, which lets you use the Internet anywhere. Karma will also let you share your connection, and the more you share, the more free connectivity you get.

If sharing with strangers isn’t your thing, your cellphone can also be set up as a portable hotspotand there are nearly a dozen different MiFi devices and plans.

11) Tour
Prioritize a couple chunks of time to keep the glamorous image of traveling for work alive. We’re talking local entertainment, a dip in the hotel pool, and adventures roaming the streets of a new city. When you’re productive, you’re a legend amongst co-workers.

Head of sales and marketing efforts for conferencing and collaboration company - Vast Conference. Enthusiastic client advocate focused on design and product development to deliver simple, easy-to-use conference call and online meeting services.

Comments 1
  • FeldmanCreative
    Posted on

    FeldmanCreative FeldmanCreative


    Great tips. Makes me want to get on the bus, Gus.