Business trips are a way of life for many entrepreneurs. For the uninitiated, it sounds like a glamorous way of life filled with adventure and exotic locations, but whoever has traveled for business at least a few times knows that it can be a total disaster filled with delays and problems. The fact that you do not have the time to enjoy the charms of the city you are visiting is just one of the downsides. If you want to make this sort of travel smoother, time-effective and less painful, read on for 5 sanity-saving time management tips business travelers will find useful.
1. Do not leave without a schedule
Before you start packing for the trip, make yourself a cup of coffee and sit down in front of your work desk to create a schedule. This might sound unnecessary since business trips are unavoidably hectic experiences filled with constant movement, but it is key to effective time management. Demand all information about the specifics of your business trip – the meetings, flights, distances between hotel and airport – and put your basic schedule down on paper. Try to adhere to it as much as you can, but remember that modifications will be inevitable. With a solid to-do list and the exact calculation of how much time you will need for particular activities, you will leave yourself with the room to breathe. You might even get a chance to take a glimpse at the location and its charms. Remember – for every minute you spend planning, you will save fifteen minutes on execution.
2. Pack light
You are not going on a life-changing trip to Papua New Guinea. You have a job to do and you need to pack appropriately – which means you should not drag half of your wardrobe along with you. Pack only one extra business outfit and a few casual clothing pieces. It is much more important to stack yourself with more than a few pairs of undies, just in case. Keep your single suitcase slim and double-down on the toiletries. Additionally, create a copy of your ID and other necessary documentation (passport and/or driver’s license) and place it in a water-proof folder before stuffing it at the bottom of the suitcase. With everything packed and compact, it is less likely you will lose your luggage – which is a time-wasting nightmare of a special kind and it can even sabotage your entire business trip.
3. Be a faithful customer
Here is something many entrepreneurs are picking up on – you can choose your preferred airline, car rental program and a hotel chain. Then, you start learning about all the benefits they can offer. In fact, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by enrolling in programs of these commercial chains – especially if they recognize you are a faithful customer. If you are traveling around the USA along with a group of colleagues, it is a good idea to try and develop a program for your business visits from scratch with local destination management service. This way, along with a good schedule under your hand, you will save time and make the most out of your visit.
4. Learn how to say no
Learning how to avoid distractions and stay focused while you work can be a really hard thing. This difficulty goes double if you are on a business trip. Distractions are constantly surrounding you once you arrive to the destination, but you have to learn how to say no. Phone calls, guest posts, interviews, charming restaurants, inviting beaches – these are all the things that can end up distracting you from the core agenda of your business trip. Now, it is much easier to say no to yourself than to someone who invites you to one of these sideshows. However, when it comes to business trips, it is fine to throw courtesy out of the window. Every single second matters and you have to put business first.
5. Always use the last day as a reward
However, if you want to have the best of both worlds, you can try to add one extra day to your business trips and use them as a reward. If you are still a rookie who has not been on more than ten business trips, this is probably not a good idea – only if you have mastered effective scheduling and earned the trust of your employers/partners can you use the “extra day” routine. This day can never be jammed somewhere in the middle of the business trip – it should always be the one after the last meeting and final negotiations. This way, “saving time” can be a reward in itself, and having one day to blow off some steam will keep your sanity in check.