Traveling for business purposes often takes up a lot of time and it can really kill your productivity. It is easy to drop your habits, slack on work and to slip up on activities that could unnecessarily waste your time.

Whether you’re new to being a “road warrior” or you’re a veteran – here are seven time management tips to help you make your business trips more efficient.

1. Smart Packing

Don’t leave packing till the last minute. Your chances of forgetting important documents, chargers and miscellaneous things are very high if you are in a hurry. Give yourself at least 24 hours.

This might seem obvious but I will state it anyways – do not bring more than you need. Some of the essentials you need to bring include:

  • Laptop, tablet, phone and their respective chargers.
  • Clothes.
  • Passport, ID and any visas.

For frequent travelers, I would recommend to make yourself a checklist for your bare minimums so your packing process will become more efficient.

2. Cloud Syncing

It is worthwhile investing some time into having your files and documents synced up through “the cloud”. This will ensure you will always have access to the latest versions of your documents across all computers. Nothing is more painful than to realize while on the road that the important document you had to print is only available on your desktop computer at home.

A simple solution is Dropbox – it allows you to store files in the cloud and it supports multiple platforms. And best of all: it’s free.

3. Combat Jetlag

Jetlag can be a huge waste of time. If you are crossing multiple time zones you might have to combat jetlag. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to adjust to new time zones – just switch time zones the day before or on the day of of your travel.

This might mean that you have to stay up longer or go to bed earlier, but it will help you adjust more effectively once you arrive at your destination.

4. Internet Access

Before you head out, make sure you have figured out how you will have Internet access. This will make your trip a lot more comfortable. Don’t rely on WiFi networks; purchase a USB dongle with credit so you can have worldwide access. For domestic trips, your data plan on your phone will be good enough (especially if you can tether it to your laptop/tablet).

In today’s world there is no reason for you to be disconnected unless you’re in a remote part of the world.

5. Napping

When you’re on the road it can challenging at times to get enough sleep and it gets worse if you have jetlag. Napping is your best friend when it comes to staying energized while you’re traveling; a 20-30 minute nap can make a big difference to how you feel.

I highly recommend that you get an eye mask. It will help you fall asleep faster since it blocks light from your eyes (which will trick your brain in producing melatonin – the hormone that helps you fall asleep) and earplugs to block noise.

6. Uninterrupted Time

You get the most work done when you have no interruptions. However, uninterrupted time becomes a scarce commodity when you’re traveling. When you see a window of opportunity to have uninterrupted time – take it as if you life depended on it. You will be surprised how many of those little sessions you can grab if you are really looking for them.

A lot of work can be done in those little time slots (think of how effective the Pomodoro Technique is — which is just 25 minutes).

7. Maintain Your Habits

Just because you are traveling doesn’t mean you can start slacking on your routines. I highly advise you to treat transit time as normal working hours and to keep working the same amount of hours you normally would — especially if you are on a plane. Air travel is a great opportunity to get work done and to catch up on stuff.

Also make an effort to stick to your exercise schedule and to maintain your eating habits as much as possible (which is one of the biggest challenges for travelers). Planning ahead will make it a lot easier to stick to your habits. Figure out if there is a gym at or near your hotel and research if there are any (healthy) restaurants that match your eating habits. This will save you a lot of time, you’ll be more prepared and your chances of keeping up your habits are a lot higher.

Do you have any other time management tips for business traveling the you’ve used? If so, please share them in the comments.

(Photo credit: Businessman Carrying a Briefcase via Shutterstock)

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