I’m writing this blog post on an airplane. I travel a lot and I’ve had to learn tips and tricks to stay productive while I’m in the air, on the road, or otherwise out of the office. After nearly two years of living a hard core road warrior lifestyle, I’ve come up with these seven tips to keep you productive just about anywhere you happen to be.
- Always Fly Wi-Fi-Enabled Planes: Virtual office and mobile technologies help—but not if you don’t have Wi-Fi. Delta has the largest fleet of Wi-Fi-enabled planes but other airlines have this feature also. Be sure to ask about Wi-Fi when you book, especially if you are taking a flight over two hours. You can get a mass amount of work done from the comfort of your economy seat.
- Carry an external smartphone charger: These come in all shapes and sizes. I actually have more than one. After all, you can have the smartest phone and the strongest Wi-Fi, but if you run out of juice you’re flat out of luck. I also keep a car charger in my vehicle.
- Use a data backup service: I keep files on Google Drive with clients that use Drive. I keep files on Microsoft OneDrive for when I need to work on Microsoft Office. I also have a cloud-based app called SugarSync that backs up various drives on my computer at home. You may prefer Dropbox or Box. Just use something that lets you sync and access your files or you’ll get stuck on the road without access.
- Get some good earbuds: I wrap a pair of earbuds around the rearview mirror in my car just in case I leave my primary set at home. I even carry an extra set of earbuds in my travel bag. Who wants to hold a phone up to their head anymore? We need our hands free to stay productive.
- Get up early in the morning: Technology aside, getting a jump on the day by rising before 6 a.m.—long before most of the rest of the world rouses—gives you an advantage when you are on the road and when you’re in the comfort of your own office. You can get more done by 9 a.m. than many people accomplish in a day. If you’re on the road, it becomes all the more vital to get a jump start to make up for lost time during your transitions.
- Keep a list of lists: You need a list—and a list of lists—if you are on the road to help you stay focused. I make a master list, then a list of items I can tackle on a plane or in a car, like phone calls. I can’t make calls on a plane and I can’t write e-mails in a car. So having the right list in front of me at the right time is vital.
- Carry earplugs: If you are noise sensitive like me, carry foam earplugs you can wear to reduce noise on airplanes, trains and in hotel rooms while you are trying to get a good night’s rest so you can be productive the next day.