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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Going For Efficiency
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Going For Efficiency - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Going For Efficiency

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Going For Efficiency

Those of us for whom travel is part of the work see it sometimes as a necessary evil and sometimes as a benefit. It’s really a bit of both, and our overall feelings can vacillate from one to the other depending on any number of factors, including whatever’s going on at home, what the weather is like, and how invigorating the trip’s purposes are. In order to deal with these wavering attitudes, each of us has a different strategy for keeping things as positive as we can. Some prefer the predictability of routine and familiarity, while others like the freshness of new variables even at the risk of inconvenience. Yet whatever our coping mechanisms, we can all benefit from the reliability of certain efficiencies--those habits and deliberate practices that keep things running smoothly with minimal effort in situations where so much is not in our control. We conducted an informal survey of some seasoned business travelers for their advice on keeping things efficient, and here are the best responses.

  • Maintain a travel-only set of neccessities, and keep them in your suitcase between trips. You probably already have a toiletries kit just for trips, and that’s a good start. But why stop there? Add a tech kit with charging cables and AC adapters, and a comforts-of-home kit for those pet conveniences that make hotel life easier, such as a small framed photo of your family for your night table (and don’t forget house slippers or flip-flops). Even if you only travel once per year or so, it’s worth purchasing these duplicate items for the time and stress they’ll save. When you return from your trip, leave them in your suitcase and do any necessary restocking within a week of your return.
  • Don’t check any baggage. Even when everything goes without a hitch, the baggage claim is one enormous speed bump after another. Let the amateurs and the overpackers have their carousel and confusion; you’ve got things to do. Whatever it takes, make the journey from jetway to curbside one quick cruise, even if that requires shipping important materials or equipment from the office to your hotel.
  • Dress as comfortable as possible for the travel. There are conflicting opinions out there about this. Many believe you should be dressed to impress because you’re representing your company and you never know who you’ll run into. This is a valid argument, but even in Business Class or better, travel is almost by necessity less comfortable than it should be, and it seems to be getting worse in recent years. The peace of mind and body you gain by traveling in a pair of blue jeans, a t-shirt, and some tennis shoes is nearly priceless. Many people already travel in slip-on shoes for quicker movement through security checkpoints; consider taking it a step further and wearing those flip-flops instead. Once you experience a plane ride in flip-flops, you’ll never fly in wingtips again. And you’ll eventually get used to any disapproving stares from less-comfy fellow passengers.
  • Get pre-screening, pre-check-in, pre-anything-available. Speaking of those checkpoints, do whatever it takes to avoid lines in the terminal or anything else separating you from your airplane seat, your rental, or your hotel room.
  • Order the meal, have a drink, and enjoy a movie. We all love our work, but unless you absolutely have to (or want to), don’t do it on the plane. Flying is already stressful by itself. Adding work makes it worse, especially when we’re trying to work in the company of hundreds of others, some of whom keep interrupting us. Those hours in the air are the one part of the journey when someone else is catering to us for our comfort and pleasure, such as they exist in a metal tube thousands of miles up. Let them cater, and let yourself enjoy as much of it as you can. If you’re traveling with a colleague, make an agreement to talk about anything but work, and buy each other those drinks, rather than lend each other those data tables.
  • Have copies of everything in the cloud. Every plan involving some kind of tech needs a plan B and a plan C. Making sure your documents, brochures, contacts, photos, and other important info is in an organized space in the cloud takes away a lot of the tech-related stress. Drives can fail, laptops can get stolen, phones can get lost, but in a worst-case scenario, hardware issues can easily be worked around if you have access to your files and information. It’s also worth an extra step of preparation to have everything you might need in a cloud folder you’ve shared with someone on your team, in case something should happen to you, or if for some reason you can’t access it and need someone else to take care of it for you.

When we’re traveling for business, there are far too many variables we can’t control, and not having control is the stuff ulcers are made of. However, we can reduce our stress levels and increase the positives of travel when we build efficiency into those things we can control. Take some advice from experienced road-warriors and make the most, professionally and personally, of your trip.


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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Going For Efficiency - Executive Leadership Articles

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