On the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again.
Willie Nelson said it best. But your reason for being on the road is different from Willie’s. You’re on the road for work. You have a goal at hand that you need to conquer, and there’s nothing that can get in your way. Well, except for maybe inefficiency. That can get in your way.
Staying productive when you’re on the road is easier than you think when you follow these simple rules of thumb.
1. Choose an airline that offers everything you need.
Don’t start your trip on a bad note. You’re still motivated to kick this trip’s you-know-what, so make sure the airline you choose can support you every step of the way. Wi-Fi, plugs, and VIP lounges. Let them pamper you in their VIP lounge, then power your laptop, cell phone, and tablet on the plane while you check your email on their free Wi-Fi. Use RouteHappy.com to find flights with these perks and more.
2. Take advantage of the cloud.
Google Drive and other cloud-driven technologies are a great idea for any businessperson. By storing files in the cloud, you’re not only consolidating and organizing your irreplaceable documents, you’re also preparing for the worst. Save yourself time and energy by eliminating the fear of forgetting or losing crucial files when you’re on the road.
3. Stick to the areas of town you know.
Stay close to the areas you’ll be traveling to and from, and try to stay in the same area every visit. This will get you acquainted with the neighborhood, essentially saving you time in the future when you need a place for an impromptu business meeting, friendly gathering spot, or just a late-night snack.
4. Delegate tasks and trust the team that’s back at the office.
This one might be the hardest for some people. Being out of the office sometimes means being out of the loop. Delegate tasks that you know will need to be handled before your return and trust your team to oversee things in your absence. Don’t try to balance everything while you’re on the road, in the end you’ll spread yourself too thin.
5. Have a clearly defined schedule.
Before departing, make sure your schedule is clearly laid out—meetings all penciled in and personal time scheduled in there as well. Account for "lock down" time as well so that you know exactly when you can dive into looming items like returning phone calls and emails.
6. Let apps and smartphones organize you.
By using an app like TripIt, your complete travel itinerary is all in one easy-to-access space, without ever having to enter it yourself. TripIt scans your emails and pulls the information for you; it’s as easy as that. Apps from airlines like JetBlue allow you to have your boarding pass right on your phone, giving you one less thing to find in the shuffle of the security line.
Traveling for business can quickly become a daunting task. Use the resources available to you when you’re on the road to stay ahead of the game. They’re there for a reason.
—Breanna Wilson is the director of marketing at ABN Save, a free business group with the mission of giving small businesses everything they need to compete with large corporations. Reach out to her on Google+ or Twitter.
[Image: Flickr user Marlon Cureg]