Our always-on world means we face ever increasing pressure to tackle on more work than we ever have before. People who travel for business are particularly impacted by this shift, having to juggle doubled workloads, business meetings, travel time and personal commitments. From our recent Vision Travel - Ipsos Reid survey, we found that business travellers spend a third of their flight time working.
For those who travel front of the cabin in business class, that time jumps to half their total flight time! All of this pressure to stay on all the time impacts your productivity. The dictionary defines productivity as the "effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input." This is an important term to understand because in order to reach our full productive selves, we must maximize our output. At Vision Travel, we manage an average of over one hundred thousand business travellers every year.
I myself spend a minimum of 150 days on the road annually. Over the years, I've developed productivity and time management skills that have helped me manage the increasing pressure of running a business by optimizing my output of work. We have also applied these principles in our travel management and meeting planning to help our customers make the most out of their time while on the road. It is important for today's road warriors to be armed with techniques that give them the best performance whether it's in the office or out on the road.
Business travellers are notorious for multitasking. You're checking in at the airport while sending emails, confirming meetings, reading over plans, and the list goes on. While many of us think multi-tasking can help us get more accomplished in a shorter period of time when in fact; studies have shown that it can actually slow productivity to up 40 per cent. Instead, focus your efforts on prioritizing your tasks and work through them one at a time. Remember, it's not important how many tasks you're able to complete in a day, but rather about completing the most important tasks in a priority sequence.
2. Sticking to just one to-do list:
Being on the road and away from the office can be incredibly difficult when trying to meet deadlines. Most high performing professionals swear by creating a to-do list and sticking with it. Taking this one step further, Warren Buffet recommends a simple two-list system. Buffet creates a list and chooses his top five priorities. The rest of the items on his list get no attention until the top five items have been accomplished. This allows for full control of your own agenda -- a key lesson to learn from the business maven worth almost $67 billion. "No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant." - Warren Buffett
3. Winging it:
Heading into your day completely disorganized without a plan can be extremely detrimental to your productivity, especially for those who are on the road. To be as efficient as possible, you must be prepared. We can't plan for the unexpected, but we can plan for what we know must get accomplished before the day's end. Having an action plan outlined with allotted timing and deadlines will help keep you on task. Using your calendar can be a fundamental tool in helping you to manage your daily activities and organize your time.
4. Giving in to digital distractions:
I receive hundreds of emails a day. If I responded to each and every one of those emails, I would never get any work done. Responding to an email every time you hear a ping on your phone or see a pop-up on your desktop will destroy your productivity. This is difficult since we have constant access to our emails via our mobile devices creating a need to always be checking in. My advice is to skim through your emails first thing in the morning, but not to respond immediately. Responding to emails first thing can often give a false sense of accomplishment. You've just responded to 50 emails, but what about the other important tasks at hand on deadline? Ask yourself this question: "Is it important and can I solve it within two minutes?" before making the commitment to craft a response.
5. Poor time management:
Procrastination, taking on too much work, not assessing priorities properly and easily becoming distracted are just a few common time wasting habits inhibiting your productivity. Your mobile device may be the key to solving your time management problems. There are several productivity and time management apps available on your mobile devices. Evernote for example is a platform that creates a digital notebook allowing you to keep track of your business expenses and personal calendar. The app also acts as a digital space where you can share notes and receive feedback from other colleagues using the app. It's the perfect companion for anyone travelling on business.
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