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Productivity for Road Warriors:
How to Be Productive While Working Out of a Suitcase

I fly over 100,000 miles a year on United Airlines. It’s a job hazard as a professional speaker. Parts of it I hate, and some things I actually enjoy, such as working uninterrupted on a plane. I know not everyone has the natural ability to live out of a suitcase or do business from a laptop bag. However, with a little practice, you can learn how to make the most of your travel time. It’s amazing what you can get done when you put some miles between yourself and the usual distractions of everyday life.

This eBook will share some tips that help me make the most of my time away. Here are some tips that work for me. I hope a few of them will help you become as productive when you’re away from the office as you are when you’re there.

Be Disciplined

If you were fortunate enough to have ever met the late Art Berg, CSP, CPAE, you have been blessed. This pioneer of using technology in a way that helps people simplify their lives was the founder of the Internet calendaring system I use: www.espeakers.com. Art always told me, “Never waste your time on the plane. The more you get done while you’re traveling, the more time you’ll have available to be with your family you return.” I took his sage advice to heart and now plan on being able to knock out a bunch of work while I’m away from home. I don’t just sleep, rent the movies, or listen to music on the plane—I work. I read business journals, trade magazines, write thank-you letters, complete routine paperwork, review large reports and board materials, or do project and advance planning. Take your office into the air and hotel. Tell yourself, “This is my time. Uninterrupted time. There’s no one else to take care of but myself. I’m going to use it to get ahead.”

Pack efficiently

It all starts with being organized and thinking ahead. Did you ever stay up half the night packing and spend an entire trip frustrated, exhausted, and wondering what it is you forgot? Don’t let it happen again. It’s pretty rare that a trip will pop up at the last minute, but they do have a way of sneaking up on you. Instead of getting packed the day before (especially for longer conferences), start thinking about your trip several days before. Find an out of the way spot to leave an open suitcase and drop things in as you think of them. When it really is time to get ready to go, you’ll be practically done. Keep a toiletries (or 1 quart Ziploc) bag with duplicate items of everything, so you only have to pack outfits. One of my speaker buddies, Rebecca Morgan, photographs her entire outfit at home—shoes, jewelry, purse, etc.—so she can quickly pull together what she needs at the hotel. I have a rotating set of 8-10 outfits that I wear for traveling and speeches, including jewelry and accessories.

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