How to Stay Productive While Traveling
If you're an entrepreneur, blogger, or any other profession that requires work + travel, you know that one of the most difficult things about traveling is having the skill to stay productive while you're on the road. It's tricky to balance the time you need to be getting things done and staying on deadline with enjoying yourself and having a good time.
Being a full-time blogger and living part-time in 2 cities over the last year (on top of many other travels here and there) has made this a difficult challenge that I've had to learn to overcome. I've had to learn how to manage my day-to-day schedule (which is always changing and always crazy), stay on task with deadlines, and still make time for personal fun and things I want to do. Trust me--it's not easy!
It's taken me almost a full year to figure out a good formula that works for me, but I'm giving you some of my best tips and tricks today so that you can also learn how to focus and stay productive while traveling!
1. Have a Specific Daily Schedule or Routine You Keep To (*and do the things you hate most, first!)
After I quit the corporate world, I was sooo against having a daily routine. I didn't want to do it out of fear that I would get bored with the mundanity of day-to-day life again. However, when I was close to pulling out all of my hair because I was so unorganized, Jay kindly kept pushing the idea of me creating a special routine that incorporates all of the great, creative things I need to get done every day. ...And it freakin' worked!
I put together a daily schedule (hour-by-hour) that helps me keep on track with everything I need to get done. I always start the day out with the things I want to do least (like working out) or the things that will take the most brain power (like writing blog posts) so that I can get them out of the way. The rest of the day is blocked off into different chunks that allow me to get all of my other tasks done.
If you have a daily routine already set in place, this will help you organize your time for the next step.
2. Plan Ahead and Prioritize
If you know you're going to be traveling, plan ahead and prioritize your schedule. What does that look like for you? Maybe it's planning all of your blog posts ahead of time on an editorial calendar, scheduling your social media for the following week, or booking your meetings well before or after your trip. It could also be scheduling important projects ahead of time that you need to be in your home to complete (I focus WAY better when I'm at home in my personal space). It could even be as simple as cleaning your house or doing your laundry before you leave so you come home to a fresh space.
If I know I'm going on a trip, I block off the entire day(s) I'm traveling so that I don't book any meetings (it's more stress you can easily mitigate), and I make sure to get major projects done before I leave so that I can focus on tying loose ends while I'm on the road instead of creating a project from scratch. There's no need to create more stress during travel if you can just plan ahead and prioritize effectively.
3. Have a Go-To Packing List
I. LOATHE. PACKING. Oh my goodness. It might be one of my least favorite things about travel. But, it's helpful to have a go-to packing list that you refer to over and over so that you're ready to rock'n'roll when it comes time for your trip.
Know the basic things you need will almost always be: clothing, toiletries, and electronics. Break that down further into exactly what you have to bring and pack as quickly and efficiently as possible.
4. Use the Time on Your Flight Wisely
If you really want to make the most of your time during your travels, use the down-time on your flight to your advantage. While I 100% back the activity of sleeping on the plane (I typically do it for anxiety purposes), you can also use this time to get plenty of work done. You can get to those follow-up emails you've been needing to write; you can write a series of blog posts; you can edit pictures; you can plan out your weekly schedule; or you can listen to that business podcast or TED Talk you've been wanting to hear for a while. Don't waste your time on the flight if you really need to get things done!
5. Beat Jet Lag and Hit the Ground Running
Jet lag is a real thing and can affect even the most avid of travelers. Read this guide on how to effectively beat jet lag (without taking any pills or supplements) and take some tips on how to get going once you've arrived to your destination. It's really all about planning ahead, getting proper rest, staying super hydrated, and then hitting the ground running once you land.
6. Stick to Your Schedule
Once you've created your own daily schedule at home, make sure you stick to it when you're traveling! It's the best way you'll be able to stay on task just like you do at home. If you normally wake up at 7am for your workout, do your best to wake up at 7am for a workout when you're gone. If you do your creative tasks at 9am every day, do your creative tasks then. You can alter your schedule based on your situation, but at least you will have an idea of how the day should break down.
7. Keep a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the biggest things that will bring you down and keep you off the productive path while you're traveling is having an unhealthy lifestyle. I'm sure you're already aware of all the health benefits that come from these good tips, but make sure you're staying active every day, drinking lots of water, and eating balanced meals. Working out will give you the endorphins and positive energy to keep up your productivity; and healthy food and water will nourish your body and give it the fuel it needs to get everything done. You can definitely indulge a little, but just be careful you don't go overboard!
8. Invest in Travel-Friendly Electronics
If you want to keep your productivity up, consider investing in some travel-friendly electronics like a Wi-Fi Jetpack (~$50/month), a Mophie cell phone charging case, noise cancelling headphones, back-up batteries, small extension cords, or even wireless charging banks for your other electronics. None of these things are vital or necessary, but they definitely help for keeping efficiency up no matter where you are! *My Wi-Fi Jetpack has really come in handy at hotels or airports where the free connection is crap.
9. Make Time for Yourself
The most important thing on here is that you make sure to take time for yourself. It's great to stay productive and be getting things done, but like Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it!" Always set aside time to enjoy yourself, relax, and explore the place you're traveling. It will give your brain some time to decompress and enjoy the little things so you're fresh and ready to go when it's time to start working again.
Are you good at staying productive while traveling? What tips do you use to make sure you stay on track? Comment below with more advice!