Recently, Debbie Rosemont was interviewed as a Productivity Expert for a podcast with Smead. Last week, she discussed how to organize and prepare for business travel and shared strategies that travelers can practice to be more efficient after arriving at their destination.
This week, Debbie continues the discussion about some things you can do to make the most of your time and effort while you’re traveling for business and after you return home.
Keep information organized while you execute your plan
Whether it is sharing, learning or connecting, you’ve already set your goals for what you hope to achieve from your travel experience. Now its time to execute your plan. Part of that is thinking about how you are going to capture notes, ideas and information you pick up on your trip. If you like to keep notes on paper, one solution might be to have a notebook specific to each trip or conference. Another idea is to have a notebook dedicated to conference learning, and insert stick-on divider tabs for each conference you attend. If you have items you need to organize and keep track of such as business cards, travel documents, and receipts, products can be really helpful. Trying to have less paper in your life? Consider electronic tools for capturing, organizing and storing information you pick up or need when you travel. Tools such as Evernote or OneNote are fantastic when you’re on the go.
Hold effective meetings
When you are traveling on business, its important to know how to prioritize and maximize your time. Scheduling meetings in advance, whenever possible, is a great way to make sure you can connect with the people you need to see. Consider reaching out before your trip to compare calendars. Accommodate the other person’s schedule if it’s really important to you – or maybe even choose to sacrifice missing one thing for another. You might want to consider planning meetings over a meal – everyone eats, and breakfast is often a great time before the busy-ness of the day begins. Likewise, time at the end of the day or even just getting outside for a walk are creative, outside-the-box times you might suggest when trying to meet with people who also are also managing busy schedules.
Take care of yourself while you travel
Traveling and busy conferences can take a lot out of you. It is really important to be mindful of your energy. If not, you won’t get the most out of the experience. Be sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating right. Use the hotel rooms black-out shades to keep the room dark and consider covering or turning away from the bed any lit electronics. Try to stick to your normal bedtime routine and timing as much as possible. Consider packing healthy portable and non-perishable snacks from home, and don’t be afraid to mention any dietary restrictions or preferences you may have to servers, conference planners or hotel staff. If you speak up and ask, most can usually be accommodated.
Packing to go home
Think about the last conference or convention you attended. How many things did you pick up along the way that you didn’t bring with you? Tote bags, handouts – do you want or need to take all of it home with you? Maybe you could take a picture and take the information home in another format, or think about what you might leave behind that someone else could use. When you’re packing, take stock of everything and don’t pack in a rush. Make sure to look around your hotel room thoroughly before leaving for the last time. Common spots to leave something behind include behind the bathroom door, in the shower, and plugged into an outlet (chargers). Run through your checklist and remember that packing to go home is a lot easier.
Organized re-entry after travel
If you’re able, try to make the day you get home as flexible as you can, without a lot of commitments. Use the day to download information while it is still fresh in your mind. Capture your notes, ideas, tasks and things you’re inspired to do into your information management system. If you do this as soon as you get back, you’ll execute better. Start the follow-up process. Enter business cards into your contact management system and send out any “let’s stay connected” Emails. The sooner, the better.
Revisit the goals you set out to see if you accomplished them. If not, what is your next step? Maybe if you missed a certain session you hoped to attend you can access a recorded version, or you can follow up with people you hoped to have deeper conversations with. Just because you’re not physically there, you can still connect.
Also, you can begin planning for next year if it is an annual conference. Vendors or organizations often offer limited time discounts on registration or products you can take advantage of for the next year’s event. If its something you know you will want to participate in anyway, it’s a great way to save time and money by planning ahead.
What have you done in the past to ensure a trip you take is both organized, runs smoothly, and worthwhile?
Do you have any business trips or conferences coming up? Please let us know which of these strategies you’ll employ for more organized business travel. If Simply Placed can be a resource to you before, during or after your trip, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
To view the podcast in its entirety, Part 1 and Part 2 are linked below. Wishing you organized and safe travels!