As long as there have been business travelers, we’ve struggled to make our travel time more productive. At one time this involved little more than reading and annotating paperwork, so little could be done while on the move. A bit more was possible with access to a telephone in a hotel, but not much more.
The electronics revolution changed all that. With smartphones, laptops, and WiFi, there’s no excuse not to be productive while on the go. That said, you can tweak your productivity higher with a few logical preparations before you even step out the door. Try these tips:
1. Prepare well in advance. When you return from a trip, prepare for the next. Unpack your back and refill toiletries as necessary. Reorganize your spare cables for your electronics and recharge as necessary. Pack a spare outfit, and leave your luggage in an easily accessible place where you can add additional items as they occur to you. Hang the components of your outfits together in your closet with matching shoes below, so they’re easy to grab and go.
2. Let someone else drive. Rather than deal with traffic, parking, and car rental, hire car services to take you to the airport in your home city and then to the hotel and business locale at your destination. That way, you can work on the way to the airport and hotel and back.
3. Sign up for pre-check and loyalty programs. Many large airports now offer TSA Pre√ lines that allow frequent travelers to pass through quickly, though some travelers prefer the CLEAR (https://www.clearme.com/) system if available in your main airports. Either can cut your wait time in half. Meanwhile, take advantage of loyalty plans offered by your favorite airline for free upgrades, separate check-in lines, and priority boarding. Given the amount of work you’ll achieve as a result, they’re definitely worth always flying the same airline.
4. Put a bow on it. Always finish one trip before starting the next. As soon as you arrive home, file paperwork, invoice your client, clean out your briefcase, file receipts, enter business card information, and conduct any follow-up as promised.
While technology has opened the door for greater travel productivity, you still have to prop open that door with common-sense, thoughtful approaches to time management. Implement the tips I’ve outlined here, and you’ll save even more time you can then spend on what really matters to you when you return from your travels.