By Laura Stack
I fly over 100,000 miles a year on United Airlines. It’s a job hazard as a professional speaker. Parts of it I hate, and some things I actually enjoy, such as working uninterrupted on a plane.. However, with a little practice, you can learn how to make the most of your travel time. It’s amazing what you can get done when you put some miles between yourself and the usual distractions of everyday life.
If you were fortunate enough to have ever met the late Art Berg, CSP, CPAE, you have been blessed. This pioneer of using technology in a way that helps people simplify their lives was the founder of the Internet calendaring system I use: www.espeakers.com. Art always told me, “Never waste your time on the plane. The more you get done while you’re traveling, the more time you’ll have available to be with your family you return.” I took his sage advice to heart and now plan on being able to knock out a bunch of work while I’m away from home. I don’t just sleep, rent the movies, or listen to music on the plane—I work. I read business journals, trade magazines, write thank-you letters, complete routine paperwork, review large reports and board materials, or do project and advance planning. Take your office into the air and hotel. Tell yourself, “This is my time. Uninterrupted time. There’s no one else to take care of but myself. I’m going to use it to get ahead.”
Have a Plan
You’ll usually have a pretty good idea of how much downtime you’ll have during your trip. Before you leave, set some goals. How long is the flight each way? How long will you be alone in your hotel room in the evening? Know what you want to accomplish during various parts of your trip. It isn’t set in stone, just a guide. When you sit down in that airplane seat, you should know exactly what to do next. Maybe there’s a report you want to read or a proposal you want to write. Whatever it is, be ready to dive right in. Until I can turn on my computer, I generally do light reading as I catch my breath and get settled. I might even do a Sudoku puzzle. Then I get right to it. At the hotel, I never turn on the television. A quiet hotel room is a great place to bang out work.
Since 1992, Laura Stack has presented keynotes and seminars that help leaders, teams, and individuals achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. As the President of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., she has implemented productivity-improvement programs at companies such as Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, and Bank of America, as well as government agencies and national associations. She is the bestselling author of four books and has been a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, Xerox, and Office Depot. Laura is the 2011-2012 president of the National Speakers Association. To have Laura speak at your next event, visit www.TheProductivityPro.com.