While most of us would prefer to keep work entirely away from our vacations or trips, oftentimes the two are linked or we have certain tasks we simply cannot escape from. Others might be heading on a trip partially or entirely for work, but still want to take advantage of their travels. No matter what, in these cases a balance must be achieved, and it’s not always easy to maintain.
Whether or not you may be experienced with this, there are things you should review and a few ways to make matters easier for yourself. Here are a few tips to help you make sure your work-life balance comes with you when you travel:
Schedule Your Day
If you’re worried about when you’re going to get your work done, you’ll have to schedule it in, and not in the gaps between your other activities when you’ll be easily distracted and the time can be siphoned away. Instead, we recommend picking a time in the morning right after you freshen up and get ready to do your work, depending on how much work you have to do and when you plan to do most of your sightseeing.
Not only does this help people know when they can reach you, it also lets you more easily focus on both work and play. You don’t want to be checking your phone constantly and have your mind wander to work problems when you should be enjoying the new locale.
Most hotel rooms either have a nice desk you can use to set up for a while or an area or coffee shop nearby you can use to get yourself into a working frame of mind.
Remember Time Zones
A very simple but common oversight many people have to deal with when traveling is the fact that your office or clients are probably used to you being in a different time zone. This can cause missed calls and meetings.
Thankfully, technology can alleviate most of these problems. Google Calendar and most other major scheduling apps will handle the correction for Time Zones for you, so long as you remember to input where you are at the moment. We recommend just being careful about scheduling appointments and calls, notifying people with good notice that you’ll be traveling, and checking in with people to make sure they’ve got the time right on their end.
Everyone has a different work environment, so you’ll need to decide what is best, but the truth of the matter is that when you’re traveling you simply aren’t going to have as much time to work or keep track of things as when you’re at home or the office, where you have a stronger structure and an environment built to get you up to speed and working efficiently and quickly. Other people in your workplace should expect and adjust for this, and you should prepare them in this regard.
The idea of changing expectations goes for yourself as well as your colleagues. You likely won’t be able to do everything, even if you’re used to working remotely. You won’t be able to do work at a superhuman speed just because you want more time to yourself when you’re traveling. Some things are better left waiting or delegated.
Use Apps and Technology to Your Advantage
Keeping on top of your work while you were traveling used to be a far more difficult process even a decade ago. Now, with the use of smartphones and ultraportable computers and devices, many people can hardly notice a difference if they’re used to hopping all over the globe, and with a bit of preparation, you don’t have to be much different. While every job will require a few different things, we recommend the following:
– Depending on the country you’re traveling to, you might want to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or another method to make sure your access to the usual websites isn’t blocked.
– Make sure you have all the peripherals you need. Many a trip has been hampered for want of a charging cable or extra battery pack.
– While you probably have your email installed on your phone, you may want to install something like Slack, Skype, Trello, or whatever your workplace uses on your phone as well. Just be sure to manage notifications so you can enjoy yourself as well.
– While you may not want to bring a full laptop, a lot can still be done, and much time saved from using a tablet and ultra-portable keyboard over a smartphone. And this is only one example. If you’re confused about what you might need, a few quick online searches will fill in the details.
Whatever you plan on doing, try to make sure to get it done in advance. It’ll be far easier at home to pull everything together than at the airport or in a different country.
Don’t Forget the Take a Rest
Traveling can be exciting, an amazing time, and absolutely worthwhile, but it can also be exhausting, especially if you’re doing so for weeks at a time. Working on top of handling travel itineraries and making sure you do everything you want to can easily overwhelm you, not only potentially making you sick but also diminishing the quality of both your trip and your work.
It will be far better to take a break for a day or half a day, lay down or relax near the beach, and maybe catch up with a few shows from home if you just want to not do anything for a while. It’s ok, it’s your time out in the world, and rest is absolutely required to stay at the top your game. If you’re planning in advance, schedule some rest time and keep it sacred. If all goes well, you’ll hardly notice the benefit, but you’ll thank yourself for it later.
Balancing work and fun while you’re traveling can be a difficult prospect, and it’s not something you should do on the fly if you want to make the most of your time away from home. However, with the right preparations, you can keep everything on track, enjoy yourself and time with your family to the fullest, and have a trip you’ll remember for the rest of your life.