If you’re a traveling consultant, you’re already aware that time management is vital when you’re on the road week after week. Along with meeting deadlines and staying productive, traveling consultants have to factor in other obstacles—such as getting enough sleep, flight delays, or navigating an unfamiliar city.
Our team of travel experts shared 6 strategies that will help make your next business trip a breeze and ensure productivity is at an all-time high no matter where your client projects take you.
Schedule Time For Planning
Plan to plan. Carve out time each evening to plan for the following day to ensure smooth sailing during a hectic day of travel and meetings. According to time management expert, Brian Tracy, “every minute you spend planning, saves ten minutes during execution.”
Start out with your trip itinerary, and from there fill in meetings, allocate time for transportation, add in buffer time for delays, and availability for other ad hoc tasks.
Have A Backup Plan For Flight Delays
We’ve all been there. You show up to the airport with more than enough time to catch your flight, only to find out it’s been delayed or even canceled. Having a plan for flight delays will guarantee that meetings and deadlines will still be tended to even if there’s a travel setback.
Check the weather a few days prior to your flight, and alert your team of a possible cancellation. If this does occur, agree on an alternate date for meetings, and book a backup flight.
The more prepared you are for these unexpected interruptions, the less time you will waste feeling stressed. Ultimately, if your flight is delayed or canceled, be sure to refer to our blog on Planning for Flight Delays.
Utilize Airport And In-Flight Time
If you view time spent traveling during work trips as an inconvenience, try flipping the concept and view that time as a distraction-free opportunity. The majority of airports (and even some airlines) offer free wifi so you can use that time on the ground or in the air to go heads down on your project work.
Always be sure to book a flight that has wifi. If you rely on Google Drive for your projects, download the Chrome extension “Google Docs Offline” beforehand to maximize your time in the air. To draft emails, search messages, and archive notes, download “Gmail Offline” prior to departure.
The beauty of working during a flight is that there are minimal distractions. Phones become silent and emails suddenly become obsolete. Take advantage of the opportunity to tap into these deep work moments and crank out some focus-heavy assignments.
Get Familiar With Your Destination
When you touch down, you should already be prepared with directions to your hotel, have an idea of where tomorrow’s meeting is, know where the closest ATM is located, and have a good understanding of the public transportation system.
You will feel less fatigued and more prepared with a clear map in your mind of what you need to do and where you need to be once you arrive at your destination.
Our advice is to keep a folder handy of all logistical documents and label your boarding passes, hotel information, rental car information, and meeting itineraries to stay organized.
In James Clear’s article about time management, he writes “In our age of constant distraction, it’s stupidly easy to split our attention between what we should be doing and what society bombards us with.”
We often find ourselves today checking our phones for no reason, mindlessly scrolling through social media, or trying to manage the dozens of new email notifications coming through our devices. This is referred to as the “half-work trap”, or the concept of not fully giving your attention to the task at hand.
In order to overcome the half-work trap, leave distractions in another room and immediately set yourself up for success by creating a workspace that facilitates your focus. This means you should put your phone in a drawer and turn it on silent. Turn off the television and radio, and make sure you’re brain steers clear of interruptions.
Start the Day With The Most Important Work
When your workload seems overwhelming, you can calm the chaos by prioritizing tasks from most important to least important. Label them as A - vital and urgent, B - to be completed by EOD, and C - to be done in the near future. Tackle the A’s first to ensure you’re devoting your energy to the tasks of greatest concern.
This is especially critical for traveling consultants because even if there’s a travel setback or a day full of client meetings, you will have completed your most important work already.
Manage Your Time Like A Pro On Your Next Trip
When preparing for your next trip, keep these methods in mind: prepare, communicate, focus, utilize, familiarize, and prioritize.
As long as you keep these concepts in the forefront of your mind, your next business trip will be a huge success and immensely productive.
Be sure to check out our other blogs to read up on more travel tips for consultants, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a productive jet setter.