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7 Time Management Tips for Road Warriors

7 Time Management Tips for Road Warriors

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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).

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    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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    How to Fight Information Overload

    How to Fight Information Overload

    Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

    This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

    As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

    What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

    1. Set your goals.
    2. Decide whether you really need the information.
    3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
    4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

    But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

    The Nature of the Problem

    The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

    When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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    No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

    That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

    Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

    Why information overload is bad

    It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

    Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

    The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

    You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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    So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

    1. Set your goals

    If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

    Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

    Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

    Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

    2. What to do when facing new information

    Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

    First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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    If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

    And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

    You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

    3. Minimal Effective Dose

    There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

    Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

    4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

    Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

    This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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    Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

    In Closing

    As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

    Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

    (Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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