Ever gone on holiday only to come home to an overflowing inbox that takes a week to sort through?
Or at least, it used to be. For years I worked in travel PR and was frequently on-the-go, heading to meetings in Geneva and Florence, or leading press trips to Thailand and Costa Rica (I realize that sounds tres douchey, but that’s actually what the job entailed – cray, I know). And even though I travelled often, I never seemed to grasp the hang of keeping up on work when I was away. I mean, who the hell wants to work when they’re two steps away from a beach or 14th century churches? The struggle was always very real, my friends.
Then I launched This Renegade Love, and soon enough leading press trips turned into attending press trips. Instead of an office of people back home relying on me, my entire business relied on me – no one else was going to run it or take over my responsibilities while I was gallivanting around the world. And so I learned pretty quickly that I had to change the way I approach work when I travel. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and struggling to focus in new surroundings, I give myself restrictions and build habits that let me get shit done and at the same time, enjoy my holiday.
If you have a hard time keeping your business afloat when on the road, try these 6 travel habits I live by that help me stay of top of my work game.
1) Plan ahead.
This is probably the most important step in keeping your biz afloat when you travel. If you know you have deadlines over the time you’re away, try to get them done ahead to your trip. Automate some of your social media posts (like Facebook and Twitter) and schedule all of your newsletters ahead of time. If you have an employee or business partner, set them up to handle certain tasks when you’re gone. Not only will it keep people from constantly checking in on you when you’re trying to bask in the sun, but it will keep things running at a consistent pace until you get home.
2) Work on the plane.
An airplane is literally THE BEST place to get shit done – no internet, no e-mail interruptions, no phone calls. Just you, your laptop and your headphones to drown out screaming babies. Take this time to get in the zone and tackle bigger projects like writing a blog post or putting together a presentation – you know, the stuff you don’t want to do once you get to your destination. Getting the big stuff off your plate frees up your time to handle simple daily admin tasks and enjoy your time away.
Related: 8 Must-Haves for Long Flights
3) Manage expectations.
Remember: although your brain is in vacation mode, there’s a whack of people back home that are still grinding out a work day. And they will be e-mailing you their pitches, problems, questions and reminders. The easiest way to deal with this? Set an out of office on your e-mail to keep the wolves at bay. Let people know that you’re travelling, when you’ll be back, and that it will take you longer than usual to respond. By managing peoples’ expectations of when they’ll hear back from you, it allows you to be in the moment and stop checking your e-mail every two seconds.
4) Set realistic goals.
Basically, don’t make promises you know you can’t keep. If you know you’re going on the road for awhile, don’t go signing a freelance contract that has a zillion deadlines when you’re away. I recently took a personal trip to Australia for three weeks and knew I’d be busy meeting Damien’s family and drinking alllll the wine. So rather than setting goals to post on TRL a few times each week like I usually do, I instead put the blog on hold and made a strategic plan to drive traffic to it through social media and newsletters. It was much less time-consuming, and I managed to keep my traffic from plummeting.
5) Respond to e-mails first thing in the morning.
Because you KNOW you’re not gonna do it after a few cocktails at dinner (and you probably shouldn’t, either!). I have a rule now that if I’m on holidays, I set aside an hour each morning to read and reply to e-mails while my mind is fresh and I can crank them out quickly. By limiting your time, you’re able to keep on top of things without letting work take over your entire holiday.
6) Find a space that inspires you.
There’s nothing worse that being cooped up in a hotel room working when you’re on holiday. If you do need to take care of some business when you’re travelling, find a space that inspires you, whether it’s a cute cafe or open air patio. In Sydney I found a great little health food bar around the corner from our Airbnb where Damien and I would go for an hour in the morning to fuel up on green juice and coffee with our laptops in tow. Great way to discover local spots in a new city!
What rules do you set to help you work when you travel?
Share your tips in the comments below!