Trips abroad are an almost inevitable part of any business life. Meetings with clients and supplier, conferences, as well as visits to other offices make flying essential. But these trips can often be very short, with quick a turn-around. And, while your schedule on the ground can be back-to-back, there is a risk the flight-time feels like a complete waste of valuable time. On top of that, there is all the time you spend in the airport at either end of the flight. So, what can you do to use this travel time and turn it to your advantage?
Plan work that doesn’t require an Internet connectionWhile the Internet is fast reaching the air now (finally), there are still many airports and airlines with restrictive/ non-existent WiFi connections. But, this is actually a great opportunity to focus on a project that needs a lot of attention, but not an Internet connection. For example, you could work on a presentation deck or finishing off a proposal. The advantage here is you won’t have the same distractions that you have in the office – phone constantly ringing, people coming to ask you questions. This means you get the time and the space to think properly about work that needs your undivided attention.
Anticipate and prepare for any jetlag issuesDepending on where you’re flying to, this can be biggest problem of them all. The mixture of bad quality, if any, sleep and a new time zone for your confused body can make you underproductive when you actually land. So it’s worth getting it under control. There is an astonishing amount of theories on jetlag cures, but Harvard University seem to have a pretty strong one. They argue that there is a second body clock based on your food intake, which if forced (by fasting) will take over your sleep pattern, and cure your jetlag.
Back in 2009 the BBC ran an experiment based on their research. They found that an international racing driver who ate nothing during the 16 hours before landing at his destination then ate his first meal in sync with the country’s pattern slept well and was far more alert the following day than the driver who didn’t. While this might not make you more productive on the flight itself, overcoming jetlag with certainly make you more productive when you land.
To sleep or not to sleep?Decide beforehand whether you’re going to use all or part of the flight time for sleeping. What you do will depending on how long the flight will be and also the time that you’re traveling. It will also depend on how easy you find it to sleep when traveling. While some people find it impossible to sleep on planes, others can use this time to make sure they arrive at their destination refreshed and ready to go.
Use it as a time to think, not to doFor many people, being able to carve out enough time to think through ideas and problems is a real challenge. If you had to travel by car, then working or sleeping just aren’t options. But what you can do when driving is think about what is currently happening in your business. Treat flights in the same way and use this as a time to think over some of the challenges you’re currently facing. The advantage of doing this on a plane is that you can write notes.
Do you have any tips for working while you travel?
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