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Get the Most Out of Travel

Get the Most Out of Travel

For a business, knowledge is the asset of intellectual capital. Professional relationships outside a company but in related firms and fields, is the asset of network capital. Both of these assets are very easily invested in every single day without most firms realizing it, and because they don’t realize it, they don’t capitalize on it.

How so? These gains can be very easily achieved when you have staff out on the road on business travel.

Business travel is a ‘twofer’ sort of thing, where you get two for the price of one. There’s the point of the trip itself, but then there’s way more to be gained from the opportunities which travel provides, and not just for the traveler. The traveler becomes the ticket.

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When I was the boss approving travel budgets I was very liberal with those allocations; I considered them part of my Staff Training and Education budgets. And since I considered them a kind of mobile schooling, my travelers were given homework. No written reports; I wasn’t interested in creating more work like some Scrooge wanting to get the very most out of my money. Further, I wanted people to relish their travel opportunities, and not consider them a necessary evil. The homework was simply that they had to bring back those two assets I mentioned in the beginning, and share them with the rest of us who had been left behind to hold up the fort. Depart a traveler, return a teacher and a connector.

Homework Assignment 1: For Knowledge and Intellectual Capital.
Tell the rest of us what you learned while you were gone. Teach it to us as best you can without our having the same sensory experience.

Homework Assignment 2: For Relationship and Network Capital.
Show off those business cards you collected, and tell us about the people you met. What do they do, and how will you be following up with them to strengthen the connection? Who else in our company can you introduce them to?

My travelers became very creative with this. They got to be fairly competitive about it too, but in a way that was very healthy for the knowledge and network base of the organization. They started taking pictures, so they could ‘show and tell’ in our staff meetings, but their photos weren’t of cityscapes and monuments; they tried to create that ‘sensory experience’ I’d asked about in the learning itself. My retailers took pictures of attractive shop windows and unusual visual merchandising displays. My golf pros took pictures at tournaments to help explain tricks with gallery control to their staff for our next tournament. All those trade magazines and brochures previously thought of as old news once they’d read them, were no longer chucked in hotel room trashcans. Instead, they came home in flat rate shipping boxes so they could be passed out to everyone else in their department, simply to share a greater awareness of the amount of choice in the industries we operated our own business in, or to stimulate more question and dialogue for us about market trends and breaking ideas.

On the networking side, they quickly found out the benefit of being gracious hosts, for they would invite their new connections to visit our company when we were next on their travel itineraries. When trips repeated to the same cities, or my travelers attended annual conventions, we now had a growing professional network with whom we could magnify our previous opportunities and build on them. Through others, we gained new clients or accolades about our aloha spirit, our products and services; highly valuable word-of-mouth advertising we never would have otherwise enjoyed.

This concept of smart homework for travel worked so well for us, that I’ve even applied the same thought process to the travel we do as a family on our personal vacations. It’s less specific, however it amounts to the same thing: We do things a bit out of our comfort zone, with the attitude that we’d never do the same things at home, learning something new along the way. We don’t keep to ourselves as much as before. We talk to, engage with, and meet many more people; we’ve learned to be more gregarious and social.

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You can expand your own thinking about this when you consider travel to be any thing out of the office, but theoretically still ‘on the clock.’ How about all those association luncheons and trade shows you go to right in your own back yard? What is the intellectual capital and network capital you get out of them, and what are you bringing back for those with whom you work? Do they silently resent or envy your mobility, or are they grateful they have you as the company connector? Something to think about.

Thank you for reading, I’ll be back next Thursday. On every other day, you can visit me on Talking Story, or on www.ManagingWithAloha.com. Aloha!

Rosa Say

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Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

Previous Thursday Column: When Does Great Service Happen?

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on July 27, 2020

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

Here’s How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

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These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

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You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

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When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

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When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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