In the first half of this post, we looked at how to maximize your productivity while in transit. Well, in this second half, we’re gonna take a look at how to maximize our productivity while we’re actually away on business.
Being away on business or at a conference can be utterly disruptive to our productivity. We’re out of the office, staying in hotels, and often between meetings and other engagements, and then when we get back to the office, there’s a pile of work and past-due deadlines waiting for us. With a bit of careful planning, however, we can not only get the most out of our business trip, but stay on top of all the other everyday commitments that our careers demands of us.
Plan Your Accommodations: Location, Location, Location
Whether you’re booking your hotel yourself, or leaving it up to an assistant or someone in HR, it’s common to fall back on the most cost-saving option. Money isn’t the only cost to doing business, however, and the more time you spend commuting between your hotel and business engagements, the more time and energy you’ll be expending, and the less productive you’ll be.
So when you’re booking your accommodations, opt for something in close proximity to the business it is that you’re there to get done. If you’re going to a conference, book a room at the official partner hotel or the hotel where the conference is being held. Similarly, f you’re there to meet existing or prospective clients, book something in the district where their offices are.
By staying in close proximity to your different commitments, it will be a lot easier to make your appointments, leverage networking opportunities, and maximize your time to meet everyday, routine commitments.
Plan Your In-Between Time
As you head to your destination, you generally have an idea of what your different appointments are going to be. So now is the time to determine how you’re going to spend your time between engagements.
Not only do you have answer emails and work on other deliverables, but you also have to eat, commute, and possibly run any number of errands. If you have several hours between meetings, then you might want to head back to your room or find a place to put in a few hours of work on that proposal or slide deck. Conversely, if you only have an hour or so, you might want to use that time to grab a bite to eat, unwind, and make that you’re on time for your next meeting.
Just like a layover should be assessed for its working potential, so should your time between meetings. Planning this time effectively can mean all the difference when it comes to meeting deadlines, not burning out, or freeing up your evenings to enjoy the local scene and culture.
Plan Your Downtime
Speaking of enjoying the local scene and culture, you should probably take some time to do that. As they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and being on the road without any “playtime” can be exhausting, and send you back to the office burnt out and unprepared to get back to business as usual.
By maximizing your in-between time during the day, you can clear up your evenings to take in the local nightlife or catch up with old friends who live in town. Similarly, if your evenings are reserved for networking opportunities, you might want to use some of that in-between time during the day to take in the sites or a stroll through notable neighborhoods.
Travelling for business can be exhausting and make you yearn for the comforts and downtime at home, but it can also be an opportunity to soak up culture and perspective that you might otherwise not have access to. So reserve some time on your business travels to enjoy the local fare and flair. It might just be the thing you need to find that extra bit of inspiration you can take back to the office with you.
All Things in Moderation
When you’re away on business, it’s important to remember that what you’re there to do isn’t the only thing you have to do. You also have day-to-day responsibilities that you don’t want piling up to overwhelm you when you return the office. Similarly, it’s important to remember that just because you’re away on business, that doesn’t mean you’re on the clock 24 hours a day.
Making an effort to (1) proactively manage your time between engagements, (2) consider about how your location will impact how much of that time you have, and (3) how you can reserve some of it to unwind and recharge will make all the difference between a successful, productive business trip and just another extended distraction from getting sh*t done. So when you’re headed to a different city business, make sure to give some thought of how you’re actually going to spend your time there.