How to stay productive on a business trip

Business trips are intended for you to accomplish a specific task. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get other work done as well. After all, when you return from your business trip, it’s more likely than not your inbox will be overflowing. Instead of dreading your return to the office, be proactive and learn to stay productive on business trips with these tips.

Eat healthy

This is easier said than done. From the fried food fare at airport cafes to the mediocre airplane food and the greasy room service options at your hotel, you don’t have many great options.

When you’re starving and at the mercy of public transportation and hotels, it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and forget your regular diet in favor of that delicious stuffed crust pizza on the hotel menu.

But if you want to stay productive, an upset stomach or headache won’t help. Ensure you’re operating at peak levels by opting for predictable standbys like chef salads, soups, and crudités.

Delegate your inbox

While you’re away, have someone back at the office sort through your inbox each day. You can keep apprised of urgent matters and direct your assistant, or whoever is monitoring your inbox, to take the steps needed to keep the work moving along.

Delegate less important work to junior staff members, with the understanding that you’ll review their work when you return. This way, your inbox will be less of a chore after you get back, and you’ll know you aren’t in for any unpleasant surprises.

Get hotspot wireless

Airports and hotels are usually pretty good at providing Wi-Fi access for travelers — usually. Avoid downtime by getting a hotspot wireless account for your phone and laptop. This will give you uninterrupted internet access no matter what the local conditions may be.

Moderate drinking

When you’re on a business trip, there’s often little else to do after hours than hit the hotel bar. This can be a great place to network and grow your career channels. However, overindulging in alcohol can leave you fuzzy-headed and not exactly eager to start fresh in the morning. Set a reasonable limit for yourself and stick to it.

Make friendly with the hotel staff

The hotel staff are your best allies when it comes to being productive on business trips. Treat them well — as in, tip generously. You’ll rely on them to return your dry cleaning on time for your meeting, get a cab waiting for you downstairs in time to reach your destination, ensure you get all your room telephone messages, and more. Even if your hotel has a concierge, you’ll still want to be on a friendly basis with the staff to get things done quickly in case of emergency.

Set up a routine

When you’re away on a business trip, everything is disrupted — your sleep cycle, your bedtime rituals, your commute, and your work schedule. In order to be the most productive, try to set up a routine as soon as you arrive at the hotel. Even if you have to write down a makeshift schedule, do it. You’ll spend less time wondering what you should do next and more time just getting on with what has to be done.

Makes rules about contact

If you’re like many successful executives, your input will be needed on a variety of things back at the office. It isn’t good for your productivity on a business trip to be constantly interrupted or nickel and dimed with questions from the staff back at the office. Make rules about contact before you leave that include things like times when they can contact you, as well as how you want to be contacted, such as via text, FaceTime, phone, or email.

Finally, take a little time off work to relax and sightsee where you are. No one can work 24-7. Taking some time off will help you to recharge your batteries so you can continue to be productive.

Chad is a former VP of Marketing and Communications at Jotform. He’s also a frequent contributor to various tech and business publications, and an absolute wizard with a Vitamix. He holds a master’s degree in communication and resides with his wife and cats in Oakland, California.

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