Time Management and a Business Trip
I have long believed that anyone who says, “You are so lucky that you get to travel,” does not travel. Whatever joy there once was in business travel is long gone. Trips are exhausting. Airports are jammed and hot and staffed by people who really don't want to be there and do not particularly like their jobs. Planes are full and not everyone remembers their manners or common courtesies. You return home tired and needing one full day to catch up for every one day that you were away from the office.
Personally, I find that I work harder on a business trip that I do when I stay home. Consider this:
- I plan something to do on the way to the airport — Most often, this is a phone conversation;
- I plan something to do at the gate while waiting to board — Noise-canceling headphones are donned and some computer-related project is either initiated or continued;
- I plan something to do on the plane — This is a great chance to get some creative work done or perhaps set up some emails to be sent out later;
- I rise early to reply to or generate new emails;
- I make phone calls during breaks;
- I catch up to ongoing requests at night;
- I plan something to do on the return flight.
A friend of mine who pastors a church told me that one of the lessons learned in Divinity School is how to manage your time and your energy. He was taught to divide the day up in thirds — morning, afternoon, and evening — and then work only two of the three. So, if he has a meeting with the vestry at night, he might show up to the office after lunch. Or perhaps he would take the afternoon off. The result, he told me, was that he felt more energetic and the quality of his work improved overall.
A good business trip occurs when you prepare for all aspects and still leave time for mental and physical recreation. It will still take you one day to recover for every one day you are away, but given the mobile lifestyle that we all now live, you can get a lot done without feeling completely exhausted upon return.
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