Travel, whether personal or professional, can be stressful. Unforeseen complications at the airport, on the freeways or turnpikes, at the bus station, or in a train station—all can make a vacation feel less like vacation. Add to that the pressure of the office “undones”, and you likely will miss your vacation altogether.
BNI guru Alex Mandossian offers up the following three strategies to help you manage your work while on vacation, whether it’s for business or personal, so you’ll be refreshed and ready to go when you finally get back.
Tip #1: Don’t follow up with your email or voicemail when you’re away
When Mandossian travels, he focuses on his audience. If traveling on vacation with family, the focus is on family. It’s not fair to them when I do business while I’m away. He sets up his email with an autoresponder that says, “Please get back to me after [fill in the blank] date.” That day is usually one day after he returns. He writes, “I use that first day back as a buffer, so I can rest.”
He also deletes all emails during his trips. When someone emails me while he’s away, he sends an automated response that says, “This email will be deleted. If it’s a dire emergency, you can contact my general manager by phone.”
Very few people call. There are very few dire emergencies, and this works. When he come back, he doesn’t have emails piled up that are unread, and doesn’t have to deal with emails while away.
He does the same thing with voicemail. His voicemail will not allow you to leave a message, and that’s great because this way he doesn’t have 50 voicemails to respond to and follow up on when he returns.
There should be no email or voicemail while you’re away so you can focus on the task at hand.
After all, that’s what productivity is — getting more done faster, better, and easier when you’re focused.
Tip # 2: No heavy business activity the day before you leave, and no appointments or heavy business activity the day after you come back
Dan Sullivan, a strategic coach, calls these buffer days. If you have a three day vacation, then it’s really a fiveday vacation. You have a buffer day the day before, and you have a buffer day the day after you come back.
If you’re away for two weeks — 14 days — it really is a 16 day vacation. Because it often is stressful before you leave and when you return, use your buffer days to regroup. You should have nothing heavy and nothing that requires a lot of focus the day before you leave or the day after you come back.
Devote those days to planning and recovery.
Tip # 3: Make it so you arrive in the afternoon
It doesn’t matter if you’re on vacation or on a business trip, plan it so you get back to your home or your office in the afternoon. Mandossian has colleagues, friends, and loved ones who arrive home at 9:00pm, 10:00pm, or 11:00pm. That’s exhausting.
He prefers to arrive in the afternoon because it provides recovery time during that buffer day. During this time put away the suitcases, backpacks, and notes, so you can go to sleep, bring closure to your vacation, and start the next day fresh.
This is the single, most productive tip. Make sure the suitcases are packed, and the notebooks are filed away. Then you start the day fresh.
“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” —T. S. Elliott
These productivity tips on travel are simple, but not easy. In fact, it takes a little bit of courage. If you live into it and explore the possibilities, you’ll be a lot more productive and get more done faster, better, and with less human effort.
This material was originally posted to Successnet