Although business trips may sound exciting at first, often they are so packed with appointments that it can be hard to find time to relax.
It’s important to make the most of your time away so here are six time management strategies for work trips:
1. Keep your itinerary on hand
If you’ve pre-planned your day, it should be easier to stick to your schedule than if you’re trying to remember everything off the top of your head. It also enforces time constraints and should be a good physical reminder of what you have booked in. If you’re attending meetings with clients or prospects, you don’t want to waste time trying to figure out where you’re going! Include location details, directions and public transport information if necessary.
2. Say no to multitasking
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not necessarily an impressive skill. In fact, often it can mean that you achieve two things less efficiently. Instead, try to knock out one thing at a time. A to-do list should help to provide clarity to your agenda.
3. Make bookings in advance
If you’re planning on meeting with clients, it’s best not to leave anything to chance. Searching for somewhere to grab a coffee or eat can be aimless and a waste of time. Instead, it’s a good idea to make a booking in advance and arrange a clear time and place to meet. This should remove the confusion of searching for a location and will ensure you have optimum time to address the purpose of your meeting.
4. Focus on higher reward activities
There’s always a risk when you travel, and especially with social media, that an ex-colleague or friend-of-a-friend finds out you’re in town and wants to catch up. Unfortunately, this is where prioritising really needs to come into play. It’s more than likely you’ll have a completely packed schedule will need to say no to most social outings. Trying to fit everything into a short time period can be overwhelming and actually minimise your productivity.
5. Plan transport ahead of time
Although this may save small amounts of time, it all adds up! It’s a good idea to book a taxi for a specific time or check the public transport timetable to ensure you aren’t late. Otherwise, you could waste time waiting for an inefficient method of transport. You may also have been given an allowance, as well as travel insurance for corporate trips, which should cover you in the case of significant delay.
6. Prioritise business over sightseeing
Unfortunately, work trips have a purpose and usually that isn’t to be a tourist! Sightseeing can be a time waster and shouldn’t interrupt your schedule. Unless you have a decent allocation set aside for this specific purpose, if you try to fit it into your agenda in between meetings or appointments, it may cause a conflict of interest. Being late to a pre-organised engagement is a potential consequence of this and isn’t the best look.
In the end, business is business, and sometimes you need to prioritise work over having fun on a trip. Hopefully though, with a bit of extra planning, you’ll be able to find time to relax and enjoy the journey!
About the author
Bessie Hassan is a Money and Travel Expert at financial comparison site, finder.com.au.