Being able to travel whenever you want is not only a perk of being an entrepreneur, it can also make you a better business owner. When traveling, you learn important business skills, like the ability to adapt to any situation. You can also expand your network, find new ways to grow your business, and most importantly, evolve as a person and business owner.
I’ve been traveling the world for 8 months while running my business and have personally experienced these benefits. I’ve also found that it can be hard to stay productive while on-the-go.
As a business owner, you’re responsible for keeping the business afloat, so you can’t let things slip while you’re on the road. Luckily, you can enjoy travel and stay on top of your work with my tried and true productivity tips.
Don’t Overlook Private Accommodations
While hostels are cheap, it can be hard to focus on your work when sharing both your room and public work space with other people. Private accommodations, like an Airbnb, may be more expensive, but can provide you with the privacy and quiet you need to get productive work done. This can be especially challenging when taking client calls, where silence is necessary for both focusing and maintaining your professionalism.
If you can’t spring for a full apartment for yourself, look for single room rentals or hostels, so you don’t need to share your bedroom space with someone else. If you need to stay home, or don’t have access to a coffee shop, you can work productively, without distractions.
Schedule Calls for Specific Day of the Week
Taking calls at random times throughout the week not only makes it hard to get out and explore, but if you’re constantly switching from fun mode into work mode, you’ll find it hard to be productive and effective on calls. Avoid this challenge by choosing 1 to 2 days each week for calls. While this limits your availability, you may find that most people can be flexible if you give them a wide range of times to choose from.
Using this tactic also makes it easier to make plans ahead of time. If you know all your calls are on Mondays and Wednesdays, you can buy tickets and make plans without worrying about whether you’ll need to take a call in the middle of the day.
Make the Most of Travel Days
Whether you’re traveling by car, train or plane, you can get work done and this is a valuable time to do so because options for other activities are limited. To be as productive as possible on travel days, keep a few important tips in mind:
- Travel with a mobile Wi-Fi, I use Skyroam, to ensure you always have an Internet connection. While most trains provide Wi-Fi, it’s unreliable. If you’re taking a bus or car, that likely won’t be available at all.
- Don’t save any essential online work for plane rides, especially when traveling internationally. Few airlines have reliable wi-fi, and if something has to get done but you can’t get online, you put yourself in a stressful situation.
- Set Google Drive to allow access to files offline so you can still write and edit, even without Wi-Fi. Writing and editing is ideal for plane travel, since you won’t need the Internet and can still be productive.
Live and Die by Your To-Do List
It’s important to be more organized than ever before when traveling and that means creating and sticking with a daily to-do list. Not only is it easy to forget calls or due dates, but to be productive with the little time you have each day, you need to use your to-do list as a tool for collecting everything you need to complete each task.
I use Trello to organize my days and every single thing I need to get done goes on there, even reminders to send an email. Within each task card, I add any necessary information, links or phone numbers needed to complete the work. For example:
- Link to document for editing
- Title of article I’m writing
- Link to spreadsheet for doing outreach
- Link to get onto video call
- Phone number to call for meeting
- Content notes from editor
This way, when I sit down to get work done, I have everything you need—no digging through your email or Google Drive to get started. This is a simple productivity hack that goes a long way in saving time and energy while traveling.
Get Your Mindset Right
It can be hard to step into your entrepreneur shoes and work productively when traveling for a longer period of time. That’s why I shared in my recent article, How to Work Efficiently When Traveling, a few tips for shifting into this mindset. Use these tips to make sure you’re always able to get the work done while on-the-go:
- Prepare for the day like you would at home or in the office. This means showering and getting dressed.
- Be clear with yourself about how much time you’ll work that day.
- Set aside time to work in the morning, so you’re not distracted by mid-day activities.
- Get up and work at a coffee shop or the kitchen table—staying in bed can keep you in a sleepy mindset and slow productivity.
Set Writing Days and Outreach Days
It’s harder to be productive when you’re switching tasks half-way through the day. This is called a “switch cost,” and it happens when you move between tasks, even if you switch your attention for a few tenths of a second, as reported by the American Psychological Association. It’s the same thing that happens when you’re multitasking, like checking email in the middle of writing a press release.
Avoid this productivity-sucking habit by setting certain days for writing and other days for outreach. This helps you stay in one mindset or the other, setting you up for success for the entire day.
Maximize Your Cell Phone’s Abilities
You don’t always need your laptop to get work done. With all the necessary apps on your phone, you can easily work on the go, even if you don’t have space to pull out your computer. Before heading out for travel, make sure you download apps for every tool you use, where applicable.
For example, make sure you have Google Drive downloaded, with the correct offline settings, along with your to-do list and any software that syncs with an app, like Google Hangouts or Zoom.
Stay Productive While You’re On-the-Go
Traveling is a perk that every entrepreneur can take advantage of, but it’s no excuse to let your work fall to the wayside. Use these tips to make sure you stay on top of your tasks and make work time productive so you can enjoy the adventures that you went traveling to find.