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The Entrepreneur's Guide to Getting Work Done While Traveling

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The Entrepreneur's Guide to Getting Work Done While Traveling

By smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
Published: May 8, 2014

If you travel in your work, it can be a challenge to get much done in between catching flights, attending meetings and trying to get a little shuteye. And yet, the wheels of your business are still churning.


Here’s how to stay on top of your email and task list so that it doesn’t overwhelm you when you get back into the office.


Don’t Overestimate Your Ca​pacity

Most people vastly overestimate how much work they will get done while traveling.

I find I almost never have as much time to handle my regular workload while traveling as I expect to. That’s because we don't account for all the little things that eat up our time (such as trying to find a restaurant to get something to eat, figuring out how to get online at that hotspot, dealing with a slow connection in your hotel room, or trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B in your rental car in an unfamiliar city).

We also won’t have our same level of energy, because travel can sap it.

So step one to managing your business while traveling is not to assume you can carry on much of your regular workload remotely while you’re away. Anyway, you won’t be able to enjoy your conference or have productive meetings if you have to spend all your time holed up in a hotel room trying to keep your business going.

Plan Several Weeks Out

You must plan in advance, at least several weeks out. If you wait until two days before you’re about to leave, you won’t have enough time to make arrangements.

Take care of any assignments that will be due during your travel period by working harder ahead of time.

Let your clients know they shouldn’t expect any work from you that week, and for a day or two after you return. Certainly, you may be available for a phone call or to answer a quick email, but you don’t want them pressing you to deliver that huge presentation or important proposal in the middle of your trip.

Hand Over the Keys

If you have staff, select someone to take your place in your absence. Sometimes delegating is the hardest part for business owners. However, consider this a good opportunity to evaluate whether an employee is ready for more responsibility on a permanent basis.

This person should be able to answer questions from clients and other employees, and handle any issues with confidence. Keep in mind, your replacement will likely need more than a day or two to learn what he or she needs to know to take over for you, so plan accordingly.

Use Snippets of Time Wisely

If you’re traveling to attend a conference, consider planning some time to work quietly in your hotel room. You certainly don’t want to travel just to sit in a hotel room and work, but some conference schedules build in extra time. Rather than frittering it away by sitting in a lounge at a convention center for 2 hours, use it to get some work done.

Don’t neglect plane time on long flights. Many planes offer wi-fi, so subscribe to a service like GoGo Inflight Internet if you need an Internet connection to work. And if nothing else, plane time is great for strategy planning and thinking about your business.

You can also wake up an hour earlier to sort through your email before your day begins.

Prioritize Your Emails

In a given week, you might receive hundreds of emails. When you’re busy with work travel, focus just on the important emails. Save the rest to read when you return.

The easiest method is to quickly skim the emails in your inbox and delete any newsletters or promotional emails. Then open the ones from your clients or contacts based on the level of urgency or importance you feel they have.

Google Mail has a Priority Inbox feature that allows you to sort your mail based on who they’re from and level of priority.

Don’t Forget Your Email Autoresponder

If your contacts are accustomed to receiving a response via email from you quickly, it’s wise to let them know you might be slower to respond while traveling. Set up your autoresponder to let people who email you know you are traveling, with limited access to email.

While you won’t not get as much done while traveling as on a typical work week, you don’t have to come back to the office to stacks of work to do.

With a little planning, you can better manage your workload, and ensure the smooth continuation of your business, no matter where you happen to be.

About the Author:

Anita Campbell

Guest Blogger

My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and, a small business social media site.


Great list! I can’t imagine how long this took to put together! Would love to have kan mei zhou included in under luxury. Thanks so much.
I believe that during a business trip, and I'm referring to the transfer in flight or train or ship, it is good to focus on their goals. Very often while traveling, there are snippets of time that a person does not know how to exploit. For me it is essential to concentrate on myself, on my goals, the purpose of the trip. Then, to enrich their culture is essential to learn as much as possible from the place where you are located. If we find ourselves in a new place we have to try to figure out what gives us this place, what are the ways of thinking of these people. They are different from us? I deal with online trading and the best deals I made them right in the back of a business trip. Traveling is nice, everyone should afford it.
I agree that it's not possible to do 100% of you workload when you are on business trip. I do suggest creating a work agenda and sticking to it to avoid work overload when you attend conferences or business matters outside the country. This will also help you focus more on what matters most in your business. Non-core tasks can be completed after trip with minimal impact to your business operations anyway. I didn't know that Gmail has Priority Inbox feature. I will have to check it out. Thanks for sharing these tips for entrepreneurs who are always on the go.
My planned guide always simplifies and improves my trip. I often try to make the trip as easy as possible. My profession as a Binary Options Broker has allowed me to travel the world. The only way to travel is through organization and guidance.
Traveling should not affect your work output. Everything is done on your computer anyway. The true advantage of being an entrepreneur is controlling your own schedule. My site boasts this freedom:
I think you nailed it. What you described has been my experience whenever I traveled. Somehow I have this idea that I will have so many hours to kill, that I might as well get busy, but instead I can barely keep my eyes open or I end up just staring at the screen. Anyways, thanks for the post.
i want to go USA because all people's very good. work and money not easy.
Wow! thanks for providing this information. I was always wondering what would happened if i did not have a planed guide to getting work done when travelling. I'm glad you have let others know that it is of utmost importance to at least have some sort of plan.
Hey Anita, Nice informative post. My own point of view this post can be very effective for new comer entrepreneurs. And I found lots of effective info in this post. Thank you... Regards, shuvro chowdhury
Very informative blog. Thanks for the info


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