During a busy week, I can spend the equivalent of two business days traveling. I’m either in the air or on the road in cities nationwide. During that time I need to stay productive. I also need to have fun to avoid losing my mind.
Over the years, I’ve learned lots of ways to make business travel more productive, enjoyable and low stress. Technology is an important part of my strategy. Here’s my formula for ensuring that travel never prevents me from doing what I love.
Every trip starts with packing. As a rule, I don’t check baggage for any trips less than a week. I’ve relied on the same bulletproof (literally) Tumi carry-on bag to hold my stuff. Clothing is only part of it. You need to take your mobile office with you. This is where cloud-based applications shine (big hint). I load my computer bag with my MacBook Pro and iPad. I have dedicated mobile power cords for each that never leave my bag.
Print your boarding pass before you arrive. Better yet, obtain an electronic version, so you can’t lose it. I recently signed up for TSA Precheck, which is the best way to expedite the security check process. It’s like the pre-9/11 days again. I also use TripIt Pro to monitor all my flights. If there are gates changes or delays, then I typically receive an alert before the staff at the gate.
Take your seat
I’m in the 99th percentile for male height. That basically means the world (including airplanes) wasn’t built for guys my size. Productivity in a plane requires the right seat. Since first class travel isn’t typically in the budget, I need to find the limited emergency exit, bulkhead or otherwise premium seats to be functional. I know the seat configurations for numerous carriers and plane types. I use sites like Seat Guru a lot to make the right seat choices.
Productivity in the sky
Wi-Fi access is becoming increasing common in the friendly skies. Speeds vary, and I’ve had the most success with Southwest. Wi-Fi lets me keep up with email and update my ClientLook commercial real estate CRM. Staying focused at 30,000 feet isn’t easy though. My Bose QuietComfort noise-cancelling ear buds help a lot. I use my MacBook to focus on tasks that require writing, since bandwidth-heavy things like images are out. I always make sure my iPad is loaded with a few movies…just in case. I even find myself playing the games my kids install.
Maximizing your layover
I have favorite foods in just about every airport in America. Phoenix is Mexican. Minneapolis is walleye. Oakland is chicken salad. Layovers are all about quickly recharging my technology and me. I make any necessary calls while dining, and find a way to recharge my phone and laptop. I’ve also started carrying a portable battery charger that can recharge my phone and tablet in a bind. This works great on a plane too.
I’m a super light sleeper. Needless to say, I struggle with nighttime noise in cities like New York. When I check into a hotel, I always insist on a quiet room, although I love rooms with loud heating/cooling system. White noise obscures road noise. I always use an iPhone app as a digital clock and alarm since I don’t trust hotel clocks. I make sure everything gets plugged in, so I’m fully charged in the morning.
Connecting to home
My final priority of the day is connecting with my wife and twin girls at home. We use FaceTime for video conferencing. I never miss a recap of my kindergartners’ day or a chance to say goodnight. I buy a hefty data plan with AT&T to account for those hotels that lack good Wi-Fi. My wife is particular about our home’s temperature ,so I often adjust it by controlling our Nest thermostat via my iPhone. I’m the man of the house after all.
Back in the office
I use three monster monitors, an ergonomic keyboard and Apple track pad in my office. It’s the man cave of offices. Connecting to all of this hardware is easy using a docking station. This stays plugged in to everything and allows me to reconnect my laptop with little effort. It stays docked until my next trip when I repeat everything all over again.
Are you a seasoned traveller? Let me know your strategies for staying productive on the road. I’m always looking for tips.
By: Michael Griffin
Connect with Michael on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mgriffin
Find out more about ClientLook here: http://www.clientlook.com/
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