One of the reasons why those of us who run online businesses love it so much is because we get to travel – sometimes a lot. Working while traveling was actually one of the things I found most attractive about being able to run a business from my laptop.
Even if you don’t run an online business, if you reach a certain level of success you’ll likely get to travel for client projects, speaking engagements, and conferences.
The problem is it can be very difficult to keep working while traveling. I know first hand how insane you can feel when you’re trying to meet a deadline from an airport or find an outlet at a conference so you can plug in your phone.
Then, of course, there’s the time you need after traveling to recuperate. This is especially true if you’ve been going hard at a conference or running around airports.
After spending much of the first quarter and some of the second quarter on the road, here are some of the productivity hacks I’ve learned from working while traveling.
Get work done ahead of time.
Thanks to the internet, working while traveling can be pretty easy because you can get stuff done from anyway.
Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way that, despite your best intentions, you may not be able to get as much done while on the road as you’d like.
For example, I’ve already learned that if I’m attending a conference it’s unlikely that I’ll be doing much working while traveling. At least not in the sense of client work that’s due.
Instead, I’m likely taking meetings, meeting new people, socializing, hustling for new clients and catching up with friends. After all of that, I’m probably not getting much done.
That’s why I try my best to get as much done ahead of time as possible so I’ll actually be doing less working while traveling. If that means I have to work weekends or pull late nights, so be it. At least I can travel without having to worry about deadlines.
Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Coming into 2017 I knew I’d be on the road quite a bit the first half of the year. That’s why I actually took the leap and hired some contractors to help me with work that needs to get done but that can’t actually do anymore.
In my case, that looked like updating old blog posts on my own site, creating new posts based off of podcast episodes, creating images (which I had no business doing anyway), loading things into an email marketing service, sending out emails, scheduling and managing my Pinterest account.
I admit that perhaps I wasn’t the best delegator while I was on the road because I wasn’t as focused as a normally am. Fortunately, my virtual assistant who has turned into more of a manager had my back and knew what to delegate to who.
Having this sort of support system has made it way easier to keep working while traveling because it allows me to focus on the most important stuff. The reality is that when you’re on the road you’re out of your element and a little distracted, so whatever bandwidth you do have to work should be going to the most important things.
Purchase and use the right tools for working while traveling.
When it comes to working while traveling, and having the right tools to help me actually do it, there are some lessons I’ve learned the hard way. Here are just a few of them:
- My five-year old laptop’s WiFi card stopped working while I was on the road once. Clearly I was overdue for an upgrade.
- I use my phone a lot to communicate with my team, keep up with what’s going on in the world and keep my social media followers in the loop. The latter is especially true when I’m traveling for a speaking gig or client project. Well, my phone kept dying on me because I didn’t have a back-up battery pack.
- Some airlines have WiFi while other’s don’t. Similarly, some airports have free WiFi, others (like MIA) don’t. Oh, and some airports don’t have lounge access much to the dismay of Priority Pass holders like myself.
- Forgetting to upgrade my data plan and almost running out of data while at a business retreat in Puerto Rico. Then, frantically trying to use whatever data I had left to add data before overcharges kicked in.
After a few months of running into technical hiccups, I decided it was time to invest in better tools so it would be easier to work while traveling. I upgraded my Macbook, got myself a backup battery pack case for my iPhone and upgraded my cell phone plan so I could use my phone as a hot spot.
Get work done in an effort to kill time.
I’ve often said that sometimes it’s almost easier to get work done from airports or on flights because you have nothing else to do. The same goes when you’re waiting for a presentation to start, waiting for a friend to come meet you at your hotel or hanging out in the lobby before leaving for the airport.
All of these are opportune times for working while traveling because what else are you going to do?
Of course, when it comes to airports and flights you’ll want to focus on work that doesn’t require a WiFi connection just in case you can’t get free access.
Additionally, I have found that it’s much easier to do this on the way to your destination than on the way back. Quite frankly, if you’ve just spent three days at a conference you’re probably exhausted and just want to sleep on the flight back. Again, lesson learned the hard way.
The last thing you need to keep in mind when working while traveling is to make sure to give yourself the space to rebound when you get back.
Although traveling is fun, it’s also exhausting. This is especially true if you’ve been working at the same time.
The last thing you want for your business is to go into full-blown burnout, so give yourself permission to relax, sleep and rest. Bonus points if you can do these things while on the road.
In summary, it is easier to keep working while traveling, but it does take some strategic planning. Keep these tips in mind the next time you have to work from the road.