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Productivity Hacks for Business Travelers

Productivity Hacks for Business Travelers

Keeping productive while traveling means that you don’t have a backlog of work to battle through when you return to the office — it also means that you might actually have some time to check out the sights while you are away (yes, seriously!). All it takes is a bit of organization, some life-changing gadgets, and a couple of apps that will assist in making your life so much easier! Here are top tips for epic business travelers.

Worldwide Wi-Fi

Yes, it exists — get online in millions of locations around the world. You can even connect when you are in-flight. From hotels to airports, convention centers to trains; a global Wi-Fi pass means you can keep working when you need to wherever you are without having to even think about roaming charges.

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Apps That Organize

There are a few more apps that will help you keep on top of things: Tripit stores all of your itineraries so you don’t have to rummage through loads of papers or search your emails; everything is easy to find in one place. Another great app for expenses is Expensify. You can take photos of receipts and collate all your expenses, and then at the end of your trip, you can send it all to the accounts department so you don’t have to deal with your expenses when you get back to the office.

Pre-Packing

If you travel for business often, save yourself loads of time and leave a set of toiletries, your international SIM card, travel adapter, passport, and phone charger in your suitcase, so you never forget the essential items. This also enables you to pack in minutes!

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Portable Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi isn’t always available, so it’s a good idea to have a backup solution so you can make sure you can get some work done or browse the web if you need to. Grab a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, as one of these will enable you to set up a private Wi-Fi hotspot for you and as many as 32 devices (most portable hotspots support about 10–15 devices). You can use them anywhere in the world. If you make sure you get one that is unlocked, you can use any SIM card inside, so you can always get the best data rates.

Making Use of Waiting Time

Traveling means a lot of waiting time: at the airport, on the train, in a taxi, etc. You can make use of this time by getting work done, planning what sights you want to see, and charging your gadgets. The more organized you are, the smoother your trip will be and the more time you will have. Download an app called maps.me; not only will it enable you to navigate your way around your destination, but it also enables you to plot where your hotel is, where the meetings you have are, and where attractions  you want to visit are. What’s more, you can plot these locations using color-coded pins. This essential app means you can zap between appointments and see sights on the way.

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Currency Cards

These are so handy to have when you haven’t converted any money, and you can’t find an ATM. What’s more,your company can buy it for you preloaded with money in the currency of your choice. They are really useful when you are in a hurry, or if things don’t go to plan, especially since you can add more money using your phone. Less running around trying to find cash means more time doing something productive.

Power Banks

The last thing you want is to run out of battery as that will significantly impact your ability to be productive. Make sure you have a high battery capacity power bank with you to prevent such incidents. You can get power banks that charge the average device up fully 20 times before they need recharging — and they fit in the palm of your hand. The average phone is 2000mAh so you will need a power bank that is at least 10000mAh, especially if you have other devices (tablets, portable Wi-Fi, laptop, etc.).

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What are your top tips for staying productive while you travel for business?

Featured photo credit: Productivity Hacks for Business Travellers via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

Effective vs Efficient

Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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  • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
  • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
  • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

Efficiency in Success and Productivity

Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

Bottom Line

Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

  • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
  • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
  • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

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Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
[2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
[3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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