finding the balance
Many people ask me how I manage to travel so often (at least once a month for the past 12 years) and still accomplish so much. I currently work as a high school administrator for a large school district, run my yoga business, and will be defending my doctoral thesis in a few weeks. Indeed, I am always packing work with me throughout my travels - school work, business work, miscellaneous contracts… and it can sometimes be difficult to buckle down and focus when I’m in a place that I want to explore with new and exciting adventures awaiting.
Here are a few tips I’ve used to help stay on task while on the road:
1. Create time – no, you don’t need to set aside full days to work while you’re on vacation, but setting aside an hour or two each day (could be in the morning, evening, or whenever you work best – capitalize on your most productive time whenever possible) will help you to stay on track. Sometimes just 30 minutes while I’m waiting for my breakfast can be enough to get small tasks finished.
2. Maximize your time – I always carry a notebook, ipad, or laptop with me when I know I’ll have waiting time (ie. airports, restaurants, taxis, etc) so I can work on the go. Raining on vacation? Use the time to tackle some of your to-do lists. I’m notorious for working on projects while stuck in traffic or waiting for others. Think small, and be disciplined. This is not the time to work on large tasks. Staying productive can also help to keep the negative, impatient feelings at bay, producing a more positive travel experience.
3. Know what you want to get done. Make sure you have a list (this can be a mental list) of the tasks that you want to accomplish while away. Make sure that accomplishing your list won’t take more than 20% of your holiday time. Chunk off the list into smaller tasks so that they will be easier to finish and you’ll feel like you are accomplishing things and being productive while on vacation, which can help to motivate you for the next tasks.
4. Use your surroundings for inspiration – look for nice spaces to work. Sometimes, I get more work done in a relaxing or unusual surrounding because the space around me is inspiring. When you’re short on time, it is often also easier to stay focused, especially when you have an adventure to look forward to when finished. People can also be sources of inspiration, so be sure to reach out and connect with those around you. You never know what connections and relationships you can forge while riding in the elevator or checking into the hotel.
5. Choose your activities carefully. Just because you are traveling with others doesn’t mean that you have to spend all of your time with them or do all of the same activities. Participate in those that call to you, and give yourself some space and time to rest, work, and relax.
6. Stay organized. Make sure that when you carve out time for work, you also have any tools that you need to complete tasks. Scoping out hotels with business centres or efficient wifi/internet connections ahead of time can save you a lot of time and hassle. By creating an itinerary and list of activities in advance of your trip, you can also schedule in some work/down time without feeling guilty during your trip.
7. Don’t spend all of your vacation time working! Remember to allow yourself time to experience your surroundings, activities, and relax. Take breaks to experience your surroundings. Afterall, you’re on vacation!