Travelling can be a mixed bag. The combination of a change in routine, the excitement of visiting a new place, and unforeseen twists (both the good and the bad) mean that maintaining your productivity can be challenging. Whether you live the nomadic life or are attending a work-related event for a few days, finding stretches of uninterrupted time to tackle your workload isn’t always guaranteed. It’s important to learn how to work to your new circumstances, so here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time on the road.
Making the most of your time on the road involves lots of planning, and not just the logistics of getting to your hotel. Think ahead about the logistics of your work: do you need an internet connection or can you work offline? Is there anything you can download ahead of time? Do you need peace and quiet for specific tasks or an online meeting? Planning ahead and making arrangements to ensure you’re able to work with minimal hassle will increase your productivity while travelling.
- Keep a detailed calendar of your travel plans so it’s easier to look ahead. Find a format you enjoy using (and one that you find actually helpful) – Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook Calendar are just two suggestions of many possible platforms.
- Make a list to simplify your packing process. Wunderlist is a great app that lets you create check lists, set due dates, view completed actions, and share lists (incredibly handy if you’re travelling with others).
- Don’t forget to check in online to save airport time. Many airlines open up their online check-in system 24 hours before departure, but be sure to double-check with your airline. Also be sure to check your flight is leaving on time with au.trackanyflight.com.
…But be ready to adapt your work to the present
To follow up on the previous point: yes, planning ahead is indeed an important part of improving your productivity while travelling, but an equally important part is flexibility. Think about your workload in terms of mental effort, and be prepared to adapt your work to your situation. If you scheduled time to work on a project but find the surrounding environment too noisy/distracting to stay engaged, work on something else that doesn’t require as much focus. That way, you’re able to maintain your productivity.
- Any.do is a great app to help with task management, so even if you have to shuffle things around, nothing falls through the cracks. Another useful app is Freedom, which will curb procrastination by blocking certain sites for a set amount of time.
Turn flights into office hours
Although it’s tempting to indulge in the free booze and entertainment on flights, these can be turned into productive working hours. It depends on the duration of your flight, but long-haul trips can be great for working. David Flynn, editor at Australian Business Traveller, tackles this topic in detail – check out ‘How to fly through your work’ on Executive Style for more in-depth advice.
- Block out distractions with noise-cancelling headphones. Picking the right pair is up to you and your preferences, so do some research into what options are available for your budget.
- Use an anti-spy screen protector to keep working when the lights go down without the glare and still maintain privacy.
Stay connected with the right gear
Every business traveller needs a few key gadgets to get the job done, in addition to your laptop and your noise-cancelling headphones.
- Portable charger / universal power bank: these come in a variety of sizes, price points, and charging capabilities, but opt for a model that’s slim and relatively lightweight so it’s easy to travel with. Kogan and Mophie are just two companies with a range of options in the event you don’t have access to power with your devices usual power adaptor.
- Wi-Fi hotspot: this depends somewhat on how often you travel/where you travel to, but if you are a digital nomad who often finds themselves in areas with limited or inconsistent connectivity, you might want to invest in something like dataGo, a portable wireless device that keeps you connected all around the world.
- Unlocked mobile: avoid racking up pricey roaming fees and get an unlocked mobile phone. That way, you can purchase local SIM cards for a cheaper deal. You can browse some options on The Good Guys here.
- CityMaps2Go: download this handy app to access local maps through GPS without using internet, so you can be sure of your way wherever you are.
Optimise your best times for work and rest
Staying productive isn’t about constantly working: it’s about managing yourself as much as your workload. Learn your rhythms: when are you most/least productive? Then structure your workload around these peaks and lows. Especially if you are grappling with jet lag. Remember to take time out for yourself and make sure you’re making the most of those times to refresh.
- Use f.lux to reduce your device’s blue light at night. By mimicking natural light, this app will help regulate your sleeping patterns for healthier working habits.
- Listen to Sleepmaker Rain as you fall asleep, especially if you’re not used to sleeping in noisier environments. This free app features real rain recordings to soothe you to sleep – check it out on iTunes and Google Play.
About the author:
Teneille Dawe is the SMB Marketing Lead for GetGo, the leading provider of phone conferencing and online meeting service GoToMeeting. Based in Sydney, Australia, she uses her 10+ years of industry experience to manage the webinar and content programme for the APAC team, and enjoys collaborating with other business leaders from all around the world. Connect with her on LinkedIn