I used to take 10-day business trips every other month, and here’s what I learned: If you squander your travel day, you’ll arrive at your destination tired, maybe even jet-lagged, and with several hours of work to make up before you do things like unpack and sleep.
I became an expert at getting work done while traveling. Here are five tips I recommend for optimizing productivity on a travel day.
1. Book Wisely
You know those TV commercials targeted at the people who research every trip on a half-dozen different websites to see if they can save $15 on their hotel room? That’s me.
But, for my recent train trip, I took the Acela. I knew I’d need to get work done on the train and while, in my personal life, I often book based on price, I had different priorities for this trip. A faster train meant I’d have a fuller day without having to wake up before 5 AM. It meant fewer stops, so I could really focus in on my work. And it meant the Wi-Fi worked the entire way.
If you work for a nonprofit or company with a tight budget (I’ve been there, too), talk to your boss about elements of your trip where paying a little more will make it easier for you to complete your work. See if there are trade-offs you can make. Maybe you stay with local contacts for a night or two to minimize hotel costs, or plan to use the subway, or rent the cheapest car—but get a direct flight to cut out the hours wasted on layovers.