Whilst on the road for business, staying connected with colleagues & employees can be key when it comes to maintaining productivity & managing projects. As many of us have discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic, video chat and instant messaging can sometimes be a lot more efficient than emails & office-meetings.
Whilst these tools may help with productivity & communication to a certain extent, it can still be a challenge to get work done when you are in unfamiliar places and not in an environment that is designed to help people get work done.
How much you travel, is ultimately down to yourself. Well, to a certain extent at least! If you are a consultant with young children, you can choose to only work with clients who are local to you, or you can set expectations early on, that you prefer to work online, rather than in person. On the other end of the spectrum, some people enjoy travelling for business and will actively seek out employment and contracts with clients who expect them to travel for business.
You may be lucky enough to be able to choose which places you travel for work as well. Fun places like Amsterdam and Brussels might be exciting to visit. If you are visiting a less exciting destination, then this can be a great opportunity to get some work done. You can plan to finish a project that you have been working on, you can get a lot of exercise done or you can catch up with some sleep!
Whatever your reason for being on the road, it can help to have some coping mechanisms in place when it comes to getting work done.
Digital Nomad productivity
The great thing about the digital nomad lifestyle – i.e. living & working on the road – is that you get the freedom to travel. The hard thing about a digital nomad lifestyle can also be that you have a lot of freedom. Nobody is looking over your shoulder to make sure that you are getting work done.
Also, if you spend some of your time travelling with friends – they probably won’t be encouraging you to work. If anything, they won’t want you to work. If other people are on vacation, they just want to have fun!
Get Up Early
To solve this issue, you can get up before everyone else. This also worked well for me during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the children at home, I would get up at 5 am and try and get 2 solid hours of work done before anyone else was up.
If you are up before everyone else, you can also have an efficient routine whereby, for example, you check your emails, meditate for 10 minutes and then go to a local coffee shop or library to get a few more hours of work done before you have time to get distracted or procrastinate.
Schedule Work Days
Know exactly what you need to get done and on what days of the week. It can be important to communicate your expectations and plans to any friends, family members or even colleagues that might be travelling with you.
For example, explain that Monday to Friday, from 5 am until 2 pm you will be focussing on getting your work done. Hopefully, your friends will respect this and only plan things for you all to enjoy, after the 2 pm cut off in the week.
Know What You Have to Do!
It’s great if you can get up at 5 am and it’s going to help a lot if you schedule a time to get work done and let everyone know, however, once you sit down to work, you need to know what you should be working on!
Take a few minutes before you go to bed or end your day, and schedule a top 3 of things to get done the following day.
This is important – because, despite the mornings hours being the most productive (in theory), many people sit down to work and aren’t sure immediately what they should be working on, so they check their social media channels and answer unimportant emails. Avoid this at all costs; know what you need to be doing and get started immediately.
Create a Focus Bubble
This might not always be possible, but if you are working from a mobile-home, RV or a hotel room, pay close attention to your environment.
Also, be difficult to contact during your key working hours. Every time your phone goes off – people get distracted and check it immediately. Keep your work-area distraction-free. Consider leaving your phone in a different room and block all social media channels, for specific working hours of the day.
If you need to be available for business, consider hiring a virtual receptionist and even a virtual assistant to deal with your emails.
See Plane Time as Game Time
A tip from Robin Sharma – “See plane time as game time”. A lot of people feel discouraged by long flights, but Robin suggests installing the idea that long flights are magical in terms of refuelling, planning and being able to work and create.
If you watch people on a typical, 4 or 5-hour flight, not many people are being productive. They tend to just sit, watch TV and eat. You can literally see their energy levels getting lower and lower as they slouch and experience energy-depleting apathy.
Some tips to stay productive includes – staying hydrated. Opt for water and maybe a slice of lemon to keep you hydrated. Do not opt for the heavy, sugar-laden food which will cause an energy crash.
As soon as you get into your seat, or at least as soon as the plane has taken off – get out your work. Start as you mean to go on; if you start watching a movie, you are unlikely to get any work done.
This may seem obvious, but if you are away on a business trip and you don’t sleep well, you are unlikely to be productive the next day. With this in mind, you should do what you can to ensure that you get a good nights sleep.
Prepare yourself, with earplugs, ear masks and noise-cancelling headphones. With the headphones, you can listen to white noise to eliminate any noise from other hotel rooms or outside of your RV if you are travelling on the road. You may also wish to consider booking the best hotel rooms you can afford. A more pricey room may well be worth the additional cost if it enables you to sleep more and get more work done.
Hire a Trainer in Advance
Exercise is a game-changer. It improves your mood, focus and energy levels. If you are staying in a hotel for a week, consider booking a personal trainer, each morning at 6 am. This will give you a great start to the day, and should hopefully boost your mood and energy levels, which in turn should make you more productive. What’s more, it will stop you from getting into bad habits in regards to your wellbeing when you are travelling. Health and wellbeing often suffer when people travel a lot for business.