It is a challenge to stay productive and focused when I am constantly traveling. It requires a huge amount of self-discipline and I’m not always completely successful. But after 6 years I am getting better at it. Here are my 7 tips on how to stay productive while traveling:
#1 – Pick the best seat you can
I travel almost every week on the train and I always buy a ticket in the Business Class car instead of coach. It is a little more expensive but because there are fewer people in that train car (only 18 when full) it is almost always quiet, which makes working and actually getting something done more likely.
The same principal applies to traveling by plane. If you really need to work on the plane it may be worth paying more for your ticket to get a seat that will allow you to work. This doesn’t have to mean a first-class ticket. If you buy a ticket on Southwest Airlines all you have to do to get a better seat is to pay $12.50 extra for early-bird check in. This won’t guarantee you an “A” boarding pass, but it will certainly increase your chances for it. (And it also simplifies your travels because you don’t have to watch the clock so you can check in 24 hours in advance . . . EarlyBird Check-In means they do it for you ahead of everyone else.) Since you will get on the plane before most or all of the “B” and “C” boarding passes, you’ll have a greater chance to pick the seat you want. I like an aisle seat . . . I have a really hard time focusing on work when I’m crammed between 2 people in a center seat.
#2 – Charge all your devices before you go
I always travel with everything fully charged and ready to go. Phone, laptop, hotspot, etc. There’s no way to be productive if you haven’t planned how to work.
#3 – Use noise cancelling ear plugs or headphones
It is hard enough for most people to stay focused when it’s quiet around them. There is no way to predict how loud the crowd around you will be so you are better off being prepared and having ear plugs or headphones.
#4 – Stay healthy while traveling
There is no way to stay productive while traveling if you’re sick. I make every effort to stay healthy so I can get done what needs to get done. (And so I can have fun after I’m finished getting things done!) I recently posted details about how I stay healthy while traveling that you can read here.
#5 – Don’t assume you’ll have wifi
Amtrak has wifi and so do many planes. But connections are never perfect or consistent. I always have something with me to accomplish that doesn’t require the internet so I don’t waste my time if I can’t get connected.
#6 – Be prepared to meet people
You never know who you will meet while traveling. I always have business cards with me in case I meet someone I want to connect with. I have met and developed new customers while traveling . . . which certainly makes my trip feel productive.
#7 – Commit to a schedule
Know what you want to accomplish while you are traveling. Actually write it down. You are much more likely to accomplish a task if you have planned a time to make it happen.
So that’s it. That’s how I stay productive while traveling. I would love to hear if you have any other suggestions for me for making my travels more productive. Please leave me a comment if you do!