Travelling is always an ordeal. Booking things, making reservations, and learning a new area are complicated enough without having to stack them on top of work responsibilities. When you’re feeling frazzled it’s easy to backslide, attempting to unburden yourself as much as possible. This means you’ll only do the things that are the most important, or focus on getting things done “good enough.” With the right plan in place, you can save yourself some stress and get more done.
1. Use Your Travel Time to Relax
You might think the best way to get the ball rolling is to start working from the plane. You have a lot of work ahead of you, and you need to land with a clear head. Don’t start the stress meter from the window seat. Play with your favorite apps. Put on your headphones and enjoy your favorite album. Going through the airport can be a nightmare. Don’t let things get to you before they’ve even begun.
2. Create a Stress Free Budget
Business trips are expensive. You have to pay for cars, rooms, food, and any supplies you may need while you’re away. Instead of crunching numbers over and over again, simplify your budget before you leave. There are plenty of apps to help you track expenditures. Don’t forget to figure in some extra funds for unexpected expenses in case something comes up. If your budget is simple, you’ll be able to devote your attention to other things.
3. Determine Your Priorities
What is the most important thing you need to do while you’re away? Make a list, and write it in tiers. Have three groups of things. Outline your main priority, your secondary priorities, and outline a list of things for your third tier that aren’t imperative, but you’d still like to get them done. You’ll be able to focus better instead of being overwhelmed by a long list of things you’re attempting to accomplish aimlessly.
4. Stay Organized
Imagine how much easier things will be if you don’t have to keep stopping to get everything together. Try to organize as you go, rather than devoting one small space of time to do everything. Get some apps on your phone to help you keep track of things. Write out an ultimate schedule. Do as much as you can as soon as you know what your plans are.
5. Make Sure the Office Can Survive Without You
If you’re away, your head needs to come with you. You can’t leave it back home. If you have any pressing concerns about the office, make sure they’re on the same page as you. You can’t be in two places at once, and you can’t afford to stress about the impossible.
6. Use Downtime for Small Stuff
If you show up half an hour early for a meeting, don’t stare at the wall. You already need to put yourself in business mode, so use that time to write out emails or read papers. When you’re sitting in your room eating your takeout, sort out your inbox. Fit as many small mindless tasks into your day as possible.
7. Don’t Forget to Breathe
Getting burnt out on the road is even worse than getting burnt out at home. When you’re home, you can come home from the office and put your feet up for a little while. When you’re on the road, you’re committed to everything you have to do. Take some time to do the things that make you happy. Yes, you’re away for work, but no, you don’t have to eat, sleep, and breathe nothing but your career.
A business trip isn’t a vacation, and it shouldn’t feel like one. That doesn’t mean it has to feel like in inescapable prison where all the walls are closing in on you. The key is to balance your priorities between your work and yourself. Too much of one or the other will cause things to unravel.
Will Norquay is a frequent business traveler who shares his experiences and thoughts writing for Stayz. Stayz is Australia’s #1 holiday rental website.