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#468: Turn Travel "Down Time" Into Productive Time

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, December 29, 2010
How can I make non business hours while I am on client travel more productive?

Some consultants travel a lot and if this is you, then you can appreciate that it is not so much time wasted and time that you can't better use (subtle difference). This is because you are away from the people, resources and spaces you'd prefer to have available. Given that you are on the road without those things, here are some tips to make your travel time more productive:
  1. Improve your ability to work from the road. Consider investing in mobile technology so you can work from anywhere and at anytime. Make sure to thoroughly evaluate a product's durability, flexibility, weight and adaptability. Although it might cost you more, you will need to rely on the dependability of your equipment to allow conduct your business at the drop of a hat.
  2. Actively manage your travel time for maximum productivity. Although many of us find working on planes is very conducive to getting work done, we often fail to consider other "downtime" opportunities such as cab rides, waiting for flights, etc.
  3. Free evenings on the road (as well as the morning hours before work) can be used for more focused work and rejuvenation -exercise, planning, reading, etc. As Covey puts it, use these pockets of downtime to "sharpen your saw" (i.e., nurturing and renewing your physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being).
  4. Keep yourself well-organized and take a little time to plan what you are going to pack in advance. Take whatever you think you might need with you on a trip. Keep it light, but take it.
Tip: Exercise, work, relax. Make that travel time work better for you. Instead of feeling constrained by traveling, feel temporarily liberated from your normal work schedule, free to do things for which you usually "don't have time."

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  efficiency  time management  travel 

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Friday, December 31, 2010
A good post, Mark. One thing not to do while traveling is to drink and eat a 5-course meal every nigh simply because the client is pyaing for it. Sometimes when I've been out to dinner wiht both men and women consultants, it seems like they haven't eaten in 3 days they way they put away every possible morsel in the restuarant. They also spend time researching resturants so they can go to a different one each night. And they spend money on car rental, not because they need it to go the clinet site, but because they want it to travel around the city to dine every night.

Following a more sensible diet- certainly no different than you would do at home, is preferable. And if you can get in exercise all the better. As far as doing work in the evenings, I've tried it, and there is nothing harder than writing a proposal in the evenings. Being away from home is stressful as it is, so you need to give yourself some time to relax.
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