Up until a few years ago, packing your bags and heading off to a destination meant that work stayed at home. However, with flexible working conditions and ever-evolving technology, this is no longer the case. We are now faced with a double-edged sword. On one hand, we don’t need to be tied to the confines of our offices and work from our cubicles. The way we work has undergone a complete transformation, and it is possible to log in work hours from absolutely anywhere today. On the flip side, this also means that you are never really on a holiday, and that work comes with you when you travel.
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Travelling means taking a step out of your comfort zone. You most often do not have access to all the facilities you had at home or at work, nor do you have a fixed routine. And with that come the entirely useless hours that you spend sitting at airports, train stations and bus stops, waiting to get to someplace else. How do you see to it that this time is not wasted? With a little planning, you can use your time on the road and in transit productively and efficiently manage the mountain of work that you would otherwise have to deal with once you are back at work. Here’s how you go about reducing your workload while still enjoying your well-deserved vacation:
Have a plan
Try to have a clear plan about your trip, with the stops laid out in advance, so that you can be prepared to divide your work between these breaks. Download any documents you might need to work on beforehand, without waiting to do so on the spot. You never know whether you will have network connectivity when you need to work. Also keep your laptop, phones and other devices charged, with a power backup to refuel them whenever required.
Write out emails and finish tasks that can be done offline
Nowadays, it probably seems impossible to work without WiFi. But one thing that you could do with limited or no internet connectivity is to write out emails or official correspondences and queue them up. Irrespective of whether you have an internet connection or not, finish off your work on documents or tasks that do not require a lot of data, or any data at all. In the case of queued mails, you could send them as soon as you reach a WiFi hotspot.
If you cannot work, try to learn
Being productive does not mean that you always have to have a tangible result or output to show. It just means that you use your time in a way that works well for you. If you are in a situation in which you cannot work, then use that time to keep yourself occupied by maybe reading something that will prepare you to work better or by listening to podcasts in your field of expertise, or even interesting TED talks.
Make plans for unexpected, long breaks
It is often the case that we precisely know the layover times of our flights, but travelling plans change quite often. You may sometimes be left with an unexpected break between meetings or events in which you may not have the luxury of being able to lounge about in your room. When you get ready for a day, make a contingency plan of how to deal with such breaks in case they arise. Take documents or reading material on your phone or tablet if you cannot carry your laptop to such events or meetings. You could also research about cafes or restaurants that offer free WiFi near the places you are visiting that day and get working sipping on some coffee. Another good way to be productive is by networking with those around you.
Take a break
Remember that it’s okay to take some time to reply to that mail or work on that document because you are travelling. Just keep those you are working for and with in the loop and updated about the work on hand. And sometimes, you just are better off not working, like for instance, on a flight. Many people try to work on the bad in-flight WiFi connections. Instead of testing your patience and waiting forever to download files, use that time resourcefully to catch up on some shuteye, read or entertain yourself by watching a film or two.
Travelling can be exhausting, more so if you have to catch up on work while you are on the road. But with a little planning and by keeping all the stakeholders in the loop, you can use most of your time in a productive way and get work done in a much quicker manner. So, what are your tips for being productive while on the go? Share them with us in the comments section below.