Business travellers who focus on making haste may find their wasting valuable opportunities that often aren’t afforded to them in the office.
Photo: Nic Walker
They say half the journey is getting there. Apply this thinking to the way your travel for business and you might get some unexpected productivity gains.
Writing on website Inc.com, Predictable Success CEO and serial entrepreneur Les McKeown explains how with four tips for business travellers that aim to get more out of the downtime that we all experience queuing in airports and sitting on planes.
- Get a lift to the airport from a colleague, or give one – What McKeown says: “More years ago than I care to remember, I got a call from a senior partner in the accounting firm I had recently joined (he’d been part of the interview panel that hired me). He asked, “Would I bring my car around and drive him to the airport?” In the 40-minute journey to drop him off for his flight, we had a conversation that turned into an invaluable five-year mentoring relationship. I later discovered that this was something he did with many employees, not just me, and it became a practice I’ve used successfully to this day.”
- Don’t waste time waiting – What McKeown says: “We know that every trip will have the security line wait, the hotel transfer, the kicking around the boarding gate or lounge area. So it’s eminently possible to plan ahead to use that time wisely. When I’m travelling, I keep to hand a folder of stuff that I know I can work on at short notice and for short periods of time. I have my phone pre-programmed with calls I know can be cleared quickly in a spare moment or two.”
- Focus on input, not output – What McKeown says: “How often have you strolled down the aisle of an airplane and watched people pecking away at email, completing excel spreadsheets, honing powerpoint presentations? ... Next time you travel, set aside time for input. Read something you’ve been promising yourself you’d read. Consume those reports you know you should read, but haven’t had time. Watch a movie, for goodness sake ... Output always gets done in the end, so make room for input.”
- Give yourself downtime – “I used to pride myself on the efficiency of my travelling ... And guess what? I learned much as a manager, and precisely nothing as a leader ... Since I changed my approach to allow downtime, I can look back at some outstanding experiences where I learned much and developed as a leader.
Read the full story on Inc.com, or take a look at five productivity apps for busy business people.