I travel often to consult with clients and facilitate strategy and execution planning sessions. This results in a lot of time spent in airports, on planes and in taxis. Talk to any frequent flyer these days, and they will share that air travel is no joy. So what can a road warrior do to make the most out of their time and enjoy the journey?
Here are some tips to try out:
- Try to arrive at the airport about an hour early. Make sure you are set up for the Pre Check program by becoming a Trusted Traveler. This will get you through security a lot more conveniently and efficiently.
- Once through, use the time waiting to board your plane to up catch on emails or return phone calls. This is also a good time to reach out to business contacts you have not spoken to in a while. Experts encourage us to reach out to one person in our network at least once a week. This helps keep your networks strong and helps you develop new ideas and perspectives from outside your company.
- Stand up and stretch. You will have plenty of idle time to sit and rest while on the flight.
- Start the hydration process and make sure your water bottle is full before boarding.
- Sign up for your carriers credit card which will provide you with earlier boarding to ensure your roller bag makes it on the flight with you and does not have to be checked, resulting in wasted time at baggage claim. This also allows you to settle in sooner and start working.
- Grab a business book from the looming stack of guilt on your desk and commit to reading it on the plane. Write down at least one action item to execute after completing it, or prepare a brief summary to share with your team.
- Write a blog (as I am doing right now). It may be one you can publish to build greater recognition for your company or position yourself as an expert. If nothing else, include it in your monthly newsletter.
- Work on that project you have been putting off. You are captive for hours, so make the best of it.
- Mediate. Take some quiet time to be still and clear your mind of all of your thoughts. This is more difficult than it sounds, but can really help to prepare you for the meetings or activities in front of you.
- Sleep. If you departed extremely early for the flight, try to grab an hour of shuteye to keep yourself rested and full of energy. Use earplugs and an eye mask to help relax.
- Do your expenses and prepare for any upcoming meetings you have. If it is near the end of my week, I prepare for my Weekly Adjustment Meeting with my team.
- Use the time to think creatively and outside the norm of the day to day activities. The best ideas come when you are relaxed and out of your element.
- Work on your "Stop Doing" list. Reflect on which activities are adding no value to you, your company or clients. Think of ways to eliminate unproductive time and free up space to work on new things.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, and hydrate continuously. This will help you arrive rested and ready to roll.
- Use Uber where possible. I request a car when I am close to reaching the terminal after landing. If I time it right, I can walk out directly to my ride and expedite the journey to the hotel.
- Check in on the way to the hotel. Chains like Marriott will let you do this if you preload the app on your phone. This will ease the arrival at the hotel.
- Make dinner reservations in advance if you know the area to eliminate another stressor.
- Stay at the same hotel chain or location when possible to reduce another variable.
I find that I do not mind the idle hours as much if I make good use of them. Please let me know what some of your tips are. I am always looking for new ideas.
Good luck and fly safe, Alan
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