I am traveling A LOT this Spring. While traveling and seeing friends and family is fun, it does put a bit of a strain on my side hustles. I’ll admit I’m not the best traveler, I often fall asleep on the plane and I’m always exhausted for a day or two after getting back home. That, plus the fact that it’s tough to find time while traveling to get much work done, I have found myself struggling to get work done, let alone move ahead with new projects I’m trying to launch. I have a few strategies I try to use while I’m traveling to help me get work done that I wanted to share:
Work and plan ahead as much as possible. When I know that I have upcoming travel, I try to plan ahead as much as possible. Usually that means using the weekend and a couple of nights before I leave to do a couple of extra to-do list items. This is ideal pre-travel prep for me because it let’s me relax and enjoy my time away a bit more, but without feeling like I’m insanely busy and burning myself out before I leave. I typically look at my to-do list and identify what items have to get done before I leave and while I’m away, and what can be pushed off until I return. I usually have a few nights after I get back of completing a couple of extra items to get fully back on schedule.
Take advantage of every spare moment. I try to make my travel days as productive as possible, so that I can be present and enjoy each day I have in my destination. That means drinking an alarming amount of coffee to resist the urge to fall asleep as soon as I board the plane. That also means doing some social media engagement while I’m heading to the airport, checking and responding to emails while I’m in line for security, downloading or pulling up any relevant documents I’ll need during the flight while I’m waiting to board, and getting some quality offline work done during the flight. Traveling includes a lot of hurry up and waiting, so using those times you are waiting to get some quick work done can go a long way to keeping up while you’re traveling.
Me, gracefully and beautifully getting work done in the morning on a recent trip to Florida for a friend’s wedding.
Set a work schedule while you’re away. If you’re not able to get your work done ahead of time and you have to work while you are away, try deciding ahead of time when you’ll work. Usually I like to set aside a couple of hours each morning to knock out some work. I find if I just drag myself out of bed and drink some coffee, I can get work done while everyone else is still sleeping or having a slow start to the morning. When you can find time to work will change depending on where you’re traveling to and what your trip schedule is like, but it is a good idea to look at your itinerary ahead of time so block out some working time, just in case. If you’re able tog et everything done before your trip and on your travel days, then you’re free! But if you have to get work done you will have already planned accordingly around your trip schedule. If you have down time during your trip, that’s also a great time to schedule some work. When we went to Iceland last year, we spent a couple of hours in tour buses and vans each day getting to our tours and excursions, instead of napping, it was a great time to get some quick work done. Find time where you can while still experiencing your trip to the fullest!
Pack the right tools. For me to effectively work while I’m traveling, having the right tools is key. I usually bring my cell phone, my laptop, a notebook, and at least one external charger. I use my cell phone in those spare moments while I’m waiting in line, usually by the time I board the plane I’m down to less than 50% battery so that’s where my external charger comes in handy. If I have time to kill waiting to board, during a layover, or in-flight, I’ll get some work done on my laptop. A lot of newer planes have outlets on each seat which is really helpful. But I try to plan my work around how long my laptop battery usually lasts, just in case. If the airport doesn’t have free wifi I will hotspot into my cellphone to get any research done before I’m in flight. I also always bring a notebook, just in case. If all else fails and all of my batteries die, I can still get some writing and planning done with a good old pen and paper.
Do you have any tips for getting work done while traveling?