Never before has there been so much incredible technology at our finger tips, much of it designed to increase our productivity. Regardless of where we are or what we are doing, there is no longer any reason for travel commitments to hold up workflows or for business trips to generate a pile of stressful chaos in our absence.
With just a smart phone and a few well chosen apps, trains, planes and airport transfers can be a useful opportunity for short bursts of productivity. These are the spaces of traditionally dead time that we can now use to progress certain types of administrative and creative tasks.
As a media entrepreneur in a rapidly changing global industry (wine), releasing relevant, engaging content is an important part of my marketing. Finding the time to condense ideas down and get them published can be a real challenge and is ultimately one that many similar professionals struggle to keep up with. Here are five tips though to help you streamline your travel experiences and increase your productivity while on the road.
1 - Charge, charge and charge again. Rapidly shrinking battery life is your biggest enemy on the road. Not only is your smartphone your most flexible workstation, it's also going to be crucial for finding your way through a busy city in a hurry and allow you to respond to changing plans. Losing power should be treated as the worst thing imaginable and every precaution should be taken against it. Carry your charger everywhere you go, boost it whenever possible and get into the habit of scanning for plug sockets as soon as you walk into a room.
2 - Catch up with your social media replies. The pinging of social media notifications can be a huge distraction in the office and it is best to turn them off for serious concentration. The problem of course is the more digitally engaged you are, the more you will have to be. Unanswered tweets, comments and messages will rack up and become a burden. I try to save these casual responses for the moments I'm standing on platforms, waiting for luggage, stuck in queues, and held on the runway.
3 - Treat a lack of wifi as an opportunity and not an inconvenience. While much of the technology we rely on requires a wifi connection to function, that doesn't mean that the occasional blackout isn't an opportunity for a distraction free blitz. Sitting at 20,000 feet or in a signal free zone, I take the opportunity to compose email campaign texts and plan weeks of blog content.
4 - Make sure your devices are synced. There is nothing more annoying than not having access to the work you feel like doing because it is on another device or stored in another location. Synced devices or cloud solutions are great for ensuring you have constant access to all of your documents wherever you are.
5 - Plan in advance. While it sounds obvious, planning in advance can ensure that you do not waste time looking for suitable work space and decent coffee. Visiting a new city or even country is a fantastic opportunity to make new connections and we should make sure we are free enough to take advantage of this without worrying that we ur to-do lists are holding us back.
Here are a few apps I use to ensure a few consecutive travel days don't derail my business.
Evernote: If you haven't revisited Evernote for a while then it's worth coming back. If like me you are working on a number of things, some of which are highly speculative, or even ambiguous, and require mind mapping ideas to be kept clean, this is the place to breakdown your thoughts.
Trello: Trello is a fairly basic, yet flexible tool that allows you to create project boards and tasks that can be organised visually. There are many apps like Trello that allow for basic project management but I enjoy the flexibility Trello offers as well as the clean minimalist aesthetics.
Wunderlist: Again, there are plenty of task management apps available to navigate us through our growing list of duties but sy, cluttered world of daily life but having tried hundreds of them, Wunderlist is my unrivalled favourite.
Dropbox: Dropbox has improved radically over the last few years. Integration with our smart phones and tablets now allows us to carry everything we need wherever we go.