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5 Productivity Tips and 5 Productivity Failures While Traveling

The last few weeks has seen me doing more traveling than I normally do for my day job and holidays. The trips were somewhat unexpected and with the increased online workload of bringing a small group of beta testers through a done for you expired domain service I have been extra busy.

This post is going to talk about a few things I have done to try and be as productive as possible while traveling and several of the problems I am having. There are far more experienced travelers than me and hopefully if you are one of them you can drop some of your best tips in the comments below.

My Travel Bag Set Up - No Wheels

My Travel Bag Set Up – No Wheels

5 Tips to Stay Productive While Traveling

1. Plan Your Work Ahead
While traveling there is a lot of hurry up and wait. In order to be productive I have a list of tasks to complete and the length of time each should take. This way when I have a 15 minute cab ride I can knock something out. The key to the list for me is writing down the task, what device it can occur on (IPad, Phone, Computer) and the next action. This list strategy is adapted from David Allen’s Getting Things Done System.

2. Leverage VA’s
Using my VA’s during this time period is critical. They tend to get a little extra responsibility when I am away from my normal hub. For example they will publish posts without waiting for me to do a final review and I let go of a few other hold/approve points in my normal procedures.

3. Traveling Technology Trifecta
I am not a technology nut but my set up for Travelling is pretty solid. IPad 1, IPhone 4 and a very un-sexy Acer Laptop all synced together with Google Docs, Evernote and Dropbox means I can work on any device.
At home I rarely write on my IPad but the instant on/off and easy to grab nature makes it perfect to craft the outline of a post/strategy in a 10 minute window.
Using Evernote and DropBox means I can access work I did on any device including my home desktop set up.

4. Move quickly through an airport (don’t check bags and take a cab)
There isn’t much I can do about how long it takes to fly or drive somewhere but the real time saving opportunity is moving quickly through any travel hub.
an oldy but a goody…checking bags is a huge time sink and potential lost bag hassle. By avoiding checking bags I figure I save 10-20 minutes each flight but more than that I eliminate the risk of a lost bag and the productivity hit that would cause. Plus whenever possible I avoid renting a car and take a cab, it saves time taking a shuttle to a rental place, waiting in line, getting out of the garage and also gives some more time to work in the cab.

5. Entertaining/Educational/Inspirational Material
Having podcasts, audiobooks and videos ready to go on my IPad and IPhone means even if I am not going to knock out some work I have the opportunity to put something useful into my brain. Otherwise I would end up reading whatever was in the back of the seat (sky mall magazine) or play Risk/Settlers of Catan on my IPad.

computer set up while traveling

Work Computer – My Computer – IPad – IPhone – TOO MUCH!

5 Travel Failures – Do You Have Any Suggestions?

To those experienced travelers among us…do you have any tips on how I can solve these 5 problems I still have?

1. Take care of myself (eat/sleep/exercise)
Maybe I have trained myself that when I am away I don’t need to worry about the amount food, booze, sleep or exercise I get/don’t get. I think this mindset is a result of my travel over the last 10 years being vacations . It’s not quite as bad as it sounds I still eat ok and am active but I definitely have more beer than normal, sleep less and eat more(especially on trips to Texas!). It’s likely for these reasons that I often find myself a little run down and sometimes sick when I get home and as a result the productivity hit of the trip keeps impacting me even after the trip is over. Even worse on my last trip I had a little cold and ended up getting my little guy sick….first time experiencing that and I felt like crap! He wasn’t too sick and is 100% great now.

2. Schedule posts
Even though I know the trip is coming I have failed to plan ahead enough to have a post ready to go. Last week I got it out on Wed instead of Monday after a week of Travelling and Canadian Thanksgiving. This week I am writing this post in the boarding area (and now in the Cab) on Sunday night.

3. Internet Connection
This one is embarrassing! I have a growing online business and I am not connected! I live in Canada with some of the worst phone contracts in the world. As a result a week in the US to keep my phone connected would cost $100-$200 (crazy). I know there has to be a better option but for now I struggle through it by connecting to wifi at hot spots and in my hotel. This is a substantial pain for my phone mostly since I am not able to respond to important email in a timely manner. The majority if my business can run with daily check ins.

4. Focus
Some people seem to thrive off white noise and a busy environment (see all the people in StartBucks). I am not one of them, it is tough to pull my eyes away from the football game playing in the background. Music and noise canceling headphones helps keep me in the zone but I still struggle to stay as focus as I would be in my home office.

5. Duel Screen Withdrawl
There are a number of tasks I do in my business that are much mores efficient with 2 screens (finding domains, reviewing my teams progress etc). Not having that second screen can be tough. I brought an HDMI cable on this trip to try and set up duel screens with the hotel TV.

Your Turn…

So there you have it, 5 things I have been doing right to be more productive on the road and 5 things I still need some work on/help with.

For those experienced travelers in the group let us know your favorite travel tips. Or, if anyone has any ideas on how I could improve on my 5 travel productivity pain points let me know.

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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