Why is it that whenever we travel, we don’t seem to get any work done? It’s like when you’re out of the office, your brain also wants some time off, even during work trips.
Well, let’s try to fix that. We’ve compiled a list of work hacks to keep you productive while on the go.
BEFORE THE TRIP
1. Make sure you have your gear in order
Nowadays, the biggest fear we have when on the road isn’t the threat of bed bugs or unpleasant plane seats. It’s losing power and internet for our devices. Make sure to pack backup power like a power bank or extra laptop batteries, and a reliable internet connection like a MiFi.
Oh, and one important piece of gear you’ll definitely need: noise canceling headphones. Whether it’s a crying baby or a loud hotel neighbor, you’ll definitely want to have these puppies around to shut out the noise and get to work.
2. Copy important files to work offline
While every workspace seems to be on the cloud these days, important documents need to always be with you. Before leaving the office, make sure to grab the latest copy of all the itineraries, event schedules, financials and every other doc you need to get work done while out.
3. Get comfortable with mobile apps
Grab the mobile app version of your most used software so that you can access it while out and about. While these apps might lack many of the features you enjoy on the desktop, they’re still quite capable. Also, they’re really easy to use, even easier than the desktop version.
Another thing: introduce these same apps to your clients. Your pitch is that using these apps will make collaboration much easier than the usual pass-the-message method of email forwarding.
WHILE ON ROUTE
4. Set a goal to achieve at each stop
Here’s a work hack we learned from digital nomads. Rather than just keeping busy with answering emails, it’s better to have a worthwhile goal for each work session. This helps in staying super focused and allows you to really get stuff done. A great incentive to motivate yourself is to treat the hotel amenities as a reward once you are done.
5. Get your mobile data working ASAP
If you really need to be connected for work, the first thing you should do when you arrive is to get your mobile data running as soon as possible.
Free WiFi is nice but spotty. It’s best to actually buy a local prepaid data plan to make sure you have the data you need, especially when in another country.
6. Have a notepad handy for those inevitable idle times.
Did you know that on average, we spend 45 minutes per day waiting? It can be while waiting for your rental, during check-in at your hotel or in line to get coffee. Wouldn’t it be nice to use this time to be productive?
Rather than spending it checking emails or browsing social media, I recommend this work hack: think up (and jot down) new ideas. The fact that you’re in a new location should get your creative juices flowing. Who knows, that late departure might just give you an innovative solution to your biggest problem.
7. Be aware of the time
Ever wonder why time passes by differently when you’re away on a trip? Keep tabs on your schedule and more importantly, set it up so that your mornings are still focused on work.
Why mornings? It’s the best time all around: less internet usage, fewer distractions and most importantly, no meetings. You can wake up even earlier, like 4-5 am, to really take advantage of it.
And since mornings are impossible to experience if you stay up late, make sure you stick at least to your regular sleeping hours.
8. Need to get some intense work done? Find the right place.
If you need to be really productive, you need an actual office with real people working around you. Scout the area for coworking spaces or shared offices, or even better, connect with local startups and hang out at their space.
Startups are great: you get to be around innovative people, the atmosphere is more relaxed but despite that, everyone is still hard at work.
9. Stick to your routines.
Traveling removes you from your regular habits but don’t let that stop you from following your daily routines. After all, those routines are what help you get work done. Watch what you eat and while enjoying a treat once in a while is great, remember that it also does you no good getting into a sugar coma afterward.
Do your best to stay active and work out. Traveling makes it hard to stay fit, but you can always sneak in a short jog or walk in the vicinity. Lastly, Skype home often. Nothing keeps you sane when away than seeing friends and family.
10. Have fun!
Even with all these work hacks, always remember that travel involves a bit of fun. Don’t get buried in work all day, every day. Take some time out, enjoy the scenery and collect some new experiences that you can share when you get back to the office!