It's a tough riddle: You need to go on the road to get out your message, but it's difficult to communicate well when you're on the road because your rest is out of wack. Stillness is the Key author Ryan Holiday recent posted a picture of him in the hotel hallway finally eating at midnight because he was on book tour with his (presumably sleeping) two kids. I know that grind as an author, an entrepreneur and as a speaker. This month, I'll be commuting back and forth from Vegas to do my Entrepreneurship Speaking Residency at the Toledo Library.
The good news is that there are smart ways to make sure you are rested for your next talk, presentation or pitch. Here are some major keys.
Go towards the darkness
GV Senior Operating Partner Rick Klau just shared the ultimate tip: Use the pants clips on the hotel hangers to close the curtains shut. The Washington Post did an article on it this past weekend. Seriously.
This reveals the biggest secret to getting a good night's sleep on the road: Darkness. Like Alaska during the summer, it's worth investing in your best way around sunlight. This goes double when you're doing international trips and have to face jet lag.
Hangers aside, try doing an eye mask, getting a room that isn't facing sunrise or - as I've done once or twice - using extra pillows to block out the hallway light coming from under the door.
Bring your home with you
Fellow traveler and Pivot author Jenny Blake literally brings her own candles when she's on the road. As she shared on her podcast, Blake will pull out everything like a spread and set up her own home away from home. Familiarity breeds comfort, and that feeling can be created with just a few simple touches from home.
For me, before I do anything else, I like to unpack my entire bag as soon as I get to where I'm going. I might be there just for a few hours, or for a few days, but that process allows me to get things arranged and organized as if that place will be my home.
Pack early - and make it special
This is a simple one: Get duplicates of your favorite toiletries and pack them in a separate read-to-go bag. First, you won't be scrambling the night before you travel to get the stuff you need. Second, you won't be dependent on hotel or, worse, AirBnB-stocked accessories to keep yourself clean and smelling good.
Besides, the major hotel chains are getting rid of their portable shower goods. You don't know what you'll get and you can't take it with you.
I have my favorites, and, in some cases, have special soaps and shampoos I only use when I'm on the road. It's like a trigger - and turns hopping on the next plane into a treat. Those great smells and feelings help me sleep better, too.