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How to Manage Career and Personal Life as a Frequent Business Traveler?
Maybe you’re active as a trade event marketer in your company. Perhaps you’re the head of your startup and need to make the circuit of events in your industry to be seen. Or you can be owner of a company that’s looking to expand their geographic reach. Whatever your personal story, the one thing that unites you all is that you will be spending a lot of time at the airport, in the air and in an unfamiliar city. The road takes its toll even when you don’t have to travel on business often.
It’s downright exhausting, stressful and crushing, when you do. Read anywhere about the inner life of frequent business travelers – affectionately called road warriors in the US – and you’ll hear tales of chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, a compromised immune system and chronic illness.
That is not to mention the effect frequent travel has on personal relationships and work productivity as you don’t spend a lot of time in the office as well. It’s important you have the tools to shape the narrative and make this lifestyle work for you as long as you have to do it.
A work-life balance is the answer and the qualities that you should embrace in yourself are being flexible, when circumstances change, and letting spontaneity in your life. We will dig into several basic practices to adopt to spare you needless headache and preserve yourself over a sustained time period.
1. Learn to Delegate Your Office Tasks
It’s not uncommon to be in the position, where you not only have a business trip lined up, but you also have to remain on top of your office workload. As you’re travelling on behalf of your company it’s not unreasonable to ask for some assistance with your day-to-day office responsibilities until you make your way back. Keep the light tasks such as existing communication with clients, but any new bigger tasks should go to a colleague. By keeping only smaller tasks at hand, you’re more than able to follow on our second piece of advice.
2. Use Your Airport Downtime to Work
Those two hours waiting for a gate to open? Or the unnecessary delay that only prolongs your stay at the airport? The perfect opportunity to go through your email and take care of correspondence. If you receive an inquiry from new clients or businesses, you’re in a better position to decide what should stay with you and what should be delegated. This is also the perfect time to keep tabs on a lot of the office chats, so you don’t fall behind on what’s happening in your home base. If you’ve not done this by now – make sure you can do most of these tasks on your phone, so you can start working at any convenient moment: waiting for a shuttle bus, in public transport, waiting to get checked in at the hotel.
3. Remember to Keep Yourself to a Schedule
The easiest way to overwhelm yourself is to surrender to the chaos of life out of the suitcase. The hotel room is a lawless place and it’s easy to lose time, always be in a hurry and not really achieve as much as you want. All this with the extra bonus of being underslept and tired. Make sure you get enough quality sleep the first night you’ve arrived and then repeat your routine from home. The familiarity of it will ground you to the new place and will prevent you from wasting time or needlessly stressing about everything.
4. Yes, Exercise Is Good for You
We know. We know. You don’t want to exercise, but it will do wonders! You will sleep better, reduce stress and anxiety, and your digestion will improve. After all, you may have had to dine on airplane food and that’s more than what the human digestive system has bargained for. Mind you, we’re not talking anything excessive. You don’t have to bench press 300 pounds and then bend the iron into a pretzel. A light, 30-minute workout routine is enough. Do weights, go for a swim, run or even go through a beginner’s yoga routine. Anything will be beneficial.
5. Every Day is an Opportunity to Stay in Touch with Loved Ones
Personal relationships are the one thing that suffers most and is hardest to fix, if you’ve let travel put distance between you and family/friends. The easiest thing would be to include them on your trip. Send pictures and videos, voice clips with interesting stories as they happen. If the time zone allows it, place in a short call or video chat during your downtime. You don’t need more than just five minutes to make it meaningful.
6. Remember That It’s OK to Take Time for Yourself
Perhaps the biggest and most important thing you can do for yourself is to know when to take a break. If you’re one to burn out easily, then you should schedule a quiet hour away from electronics and people in your hotel room. The hotel should have a bathtub. Go soak in it. You deserve it. Better yet, schedule a massage. Increase your stay for one extra day, so you can recharge before leaving. Try some local street food, sightsee for a bit, visit a museum. This will take your mind off the work stress you’ve accumulated.
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