I can’t remember the last time I’ve taken a completely unplugged vacation, and while I DO think it is an important part of work-life balance, I just haven’t been able to follow my own recommendation of late.
That means that no matter why I’m traveling, work or vacation, I am always prepared to get some work done. Here are my top five tips for getting work done while traveling, sometimes more than at my home desk.
1. Get comfortable working in uncomfortable places.
If you need a precise combination of environmental factors to get your work done, working while traveling may be harder, but not impossible. And if you tend to need a specific environment to get work done, like sitting in a specific chair or having the temperature just right, try weaning yourself off of things slowly as you approach your travel date. If you still have trouble concentrating in a foreign environment, give this hack a try and learn to own your productivity anywhere, anytime.
2. Fight the jet lag.
Whether it’s a two or twelve-hour time difference, jet lag may creep up on you at the most inopportune time. To avoid the slump, craft a good sleeping environment in your new destination. For some people, that means napping as soon as you’re at a hotel. Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, which is both a brain booster and sleep enhancer that can help you relax on the road. If I’m taking a redeye, I normally take 1 capsule of Nootrobox‘s YAWN before the flight so I can actually get some rest while in the air.
3. Designate time blocks to get work done.
This is a biggie. Even if you are traveling solo, it is important to set up specific time blocks to get work done. Traveling usually comes with its own unique sets of distractions, and unless you are consistent about setting aside enough time to get your work done, you’ll be playing catchup once back home.
4. Invest in a mobile hotspot and in-flight wifi.
Whether it’s unlimited data on your phone or a portable wifi hotspot, make sure that you have what you need to stay connected. (It’s not elegant or super sleek looking, but the most reliable hotspot I’ve used is Verizon’s popular device.) I am a big fan of getting work done while traveling, so unless I’m on a redeye flight, I purchase in-flight wifi access, and keep an eye out, because sometimes you can get a discount by snapping it up with your ticket. Before leaving on the trip, double check your VPN or remote log-in before heading out, and make sure you give your IT department a heads up on your travel if you work for a larger company. That way, if you run into technical difficulties, they will already know where you are and how to help.
5. Arm your brain.
I take nootropics at home and at work, and I DEFINITELY take them on the road to help keep my productivity consistent. I’ve written about my favorite travel stack before (check out the full article and stack here), and some of the other BrainWiz reviewers have their own preferences. My stack is focused on keeping me productive and sharp even if there’s no good coffee in sight, something I’ve run into numerous times while staying in hotels for work and pleasure.
6. Make sure work is accessible offline.
Before leaving on your trip, make sure as many of the materials you need to get your work done are available offline. No matter how well-prepared you are with HotSpots or Tethering, it is likely you will encounter at least one instance of no connectivity during your trip. Don’t let that be an excuse for not getting work done by making sure documents, emails, or reports are all available offline.
So if you can’t avoid working on your vacation, or you need to prep for an offsite meeting while en-route to it, take a shot at these tips to ensure productivity. And if you have any other productivity hacks you use while traveling, please send them our way. I’m always looking for ways to optimize my time away from the office.