How to Network and Be Productive on the Road

Business travel can have a lot of perks and benefits: seeing new cities, meeting new people, gaining new knowledge, and closing important deals. But one of the unspoken downsides is the feeling of being cut off from what’s going on at the office and at home. Those feelings can lead to productivity paralysis, but there are ways to maintain and even increase your productivity while on the road.
Network. It may be an informal hotel happy hour or the opening reception at a conference, but meeting new people in these environments often has unexpected positive results. You might learn about a new line of products or meet a potential client, or strategize about working the vendor floor at a trade show. This casual collaboration will stimulate your productivity and simultaneously boost your serotonin (one of the brain’s chemicals responsible for happiness).
Schedule downtime. Restorative activities such as a massage, spa treatment, a quick workout, or even a leisurely walk can help clear your mind and allow you to shed stress and refocus. Team building activities can enhance productivity by providing an opportunity to decompress from the treadmill of work, work, work.
Use flight time. But not in the way you think. Choose uninterrupted mental space by not logging on to the plane’s wifi as a way to relax. Read a book for enjoyment or catch a much-needed nap. Or if you have to stay productive, work offline on projects that require intense focus. Then you’ll arrive either refreshed or with a sense of accomplishment. Both are needed for productivity.
Attend a meetup for work or your hobbies. In most big cities, there are meetups and group gatherings for just about any topic. If you’re a writer, there may be writing events in the city you’re visiting. Or business networking groups. Or industry association chapters. Check out or your favorite group’s website to see if there are any meetings going on while you’re in town.
Choose a home away from home. Staying at the same hotel chain wherever you travel allows you to acclimate to a new city faster and relax more thoroughly in what becomes a known environment. You know the brand, you know the system, and you even know what the room will look like. You’ll feel at home no matter where you go. And if they have any networking happy hours, try to spend an hour meeting your fellow travelers.
Phone home. While you’re away on business, you might have a tendency to experience tunnel vision. Don’t cut yourself off from colleagues who may need you to touch base so you stay up-to-date on the work they’re doing on your behalf. The same goes for friends and family. While you’re working so hard to be productive on the road, they’re making decisions that may require your input or having experiences they want to share. There’s comfort in connection, so schedule a time to check in with your significant others when you’re not rushed or preoccupied.
Making these choices while you travel will allow you to make the most of your time away and hit the ground running on all fronts once you return.
What do you do to stay productive or to network with others? Let us hear from you in the comments below,on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.
Photo credit: shanegaughan (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)