These 10 Tips on How to Be Productive When Traveling will help keep you productive even during the lulls.
I just returned from six days at Walt Disney World. While this trip was for business, it did have plenty of pleasure mixed in as the entire family came with me.
But even trying to plan the shortest flights from Austin to Orlando, there's still a lot of down time that is anything but productive. Sure we're getting from point a to point b, but that time feels like it's filled with wasted working hours being herded from place to place.
Just think of it. All of that time you spend waiting in line to check your bags (hey, we're a family of four flying together for the first time ever that's used to road trippin' it, so we haven't yet perfected the art of traveling light), then security, waiting for coffee, the restroom, waiting to board the flight, waiting to take off, flying time, waiting to deplane, walking to your connecting flight, and then starting the whole boarding/flying/deplaning process again.
Once we arrived, we were able to walk immediately to the shuttle and take the Magical Express from the airport in Orlando to our resort. Do you want to know the worst thing about staying so close to the Magic Kingdom? It means you're also the last shuttle stop as well. When we arrived there were guests of three other resorts on our shuttle and they all got dropped off before us.
Lots of time waiting.
I just couldn't help thinking to myself that the time could be better used doing something. Anything. I find myself spacing out and just people watching, zoning out, or just falling asleep and it's partially because I associate having my laptop with me with actually getting work done.
Of course, I didn't want to bust out the laptop at every opportunity but there was so much that I could do on my phone each step of the way. It may not seem like a lot to get a little bit done as you're waiting in each line but all together you could actually get quite a bit done if you're mindful about things. Here are my top 10 How to Be Productive When Traveling!
10 Tips on How to Be Productive When Traveling
1. Make reservations/itineraries for your trip. I'm the worst about procrastinating and planning things on the fly. Even for our trip to Disney, we were just kind of loosely working off of a schedule. We were fortunate to get the reservations we did get because I started some serious app stalking once we arrived but prior to our trip, I just couldn't get my mind to focus on micromanaging each detail. (Example: Disney dining reservations open 180 days prior to arrival. I don't know what I want for dinner tomorrow night, let alone 6 months from now!) Even if you don't make reservations, at least loosely draft up a list of your must do's to ensure you get everything done you hoped to accomplish and have no regrets.
2. Set up travel alerts. If you haven't already, make sure you set up travel alerts with your bank so your account doesn't get frozen for suspected fraudulent activity. How to be productive when traveling means you aren't wasting time on the phone with your bank or credit card company because you planned ahead and already alerted them of your travel plans.
3. Get caught up on email. Reply to emails you've been putting off responding to. Archive those that don't need any further action. I think the mistake a lot of us make is in thinking that emails need to be long winded and thus would be easier written on a keyboard. Emailing on your phone forces you to be more concise and to the point saving you and the recipient time.
4. Clean up your photo library. You've likely have lots of photos that are duplicates or that need editing. Get rid of the photos that aren't the best and edit the others.
5. Allow yourself a brain dump. Get all of those to do lists and action items out of your head and onto one list so you can actually make some progress and get things done. When there's all of these things you keep adding to your mental list and hoping remember, you're just creating more stress and mental overload. I know I'm always worrying that I'm going to forget something and something will fall through the cracks so list making is essential for me. When you put it all in one place so you can start marking things off and ensuring you don't forget anything, you'll feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when the task is done.
6. Make a budget. I use the Every Dollar app but you could use Google Docs and create a budget as well.
7. Pay bills. How to be productive when traveling means you can also use that time to do the dreaded monthly finances. Don't risk paying a bill late. Use bill pay and get it paid as soon as it comes in.
8. Catch up on current events. Whether this is national, local, or career specific learn about the latest happenings that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
9. Meal plan/create a shopping list. On the return trip you're going to be heading back to real life again whether you're ready for it or not. Leave the big items for when you get home and do easy stuff like meal planning and creating a shopping list for when you're burning time. You'll feel a sense of relief knowing you can head into the next day with a plan and won't be tempted to eat out again when you're probably sick of it after x number of days straight.
10. Turn back on your alarms. It's always liberating to turn off the recurring alarms that keep us functioning day in and day out as part of our normal routine. But when heading home, you don't want to miss getting ready for the day or your little one getting on the bus, thus throwing off your schedule even more. This step takes so little time but can cost you if you wait and forget to turn these oh so important alarms back on.
Bonus #11: Know your body. Traveling can take its toll on your body, know when you need a break. You're an expert on you so know when you can get the above 10 done and when you just need a break. If you need to rest or zone out, do it so you're in a better spot when you land. If you're not quite to the sleep zone or just need a little reprieve between switching tasks, then do it.
I'm a huge fan of sleeping when I'm on the plane for hours at a time, but on shorter flights or while waiting in line I can't just nod off. For those times I like to do mindless things that keep my mind off the boring wait and allow me to keep my mind entertained like watching Netflix.
Do you have any other tips on How to Be Productive When Traveling? Let me know what they are by sending me a tweet on Twitter or a message on Facebook.