We've all been there. You're stuck in the hotel, while everyone is out enjoying the city or maybe even resting in their homes. You have work to do but you simply can't focus in your hotel room, regardless of how nice it is.
This happens to me often when I travel for business. And now that my wife and I have welcomed our second child, it is even more difficult to hone in on the tasks on hand when my mind feels like it's in a bunch of different places. Fortunately I've picked up a few strategies to help me maange working out of a hotel room effectively.
Here are a few ways you can get back on track with productivity when you are traveling for business. Note that using one of the best credit cards for travel miles can help you upgrade your room.
1. Create a standing desk.
I try to create a standing desk using the top of the dresser or even the ironing board in the room. By standing, it helps me to stay focused and keeps me awake. Plus, it's better for my health than sitting all day.
It's often not the most comfortable, especially if you are tall, but it can help you work more productively. If you don't mind carrying it, I recommend buying a laptop desk with a riser, especially if you work away from an office often. Some are a little bulky, so shop around until you find one that works for your height and comfort.
Try not to get too comfortable. It will only make it harder to stay on track. For this reason, I avoid taking a hot bath or working in my leisure clothes until I am done with my tasks, simply because I get too relaxed.
2. Use a timer.
You don't have to be on a business trip to understand the feeling of the work seeming daunting and never-ending. In order to help make a big task feel more manageable, break it up into sections. Then give yourself so much time to finish one thing before taking a break.
For instance, if I have articles to write, I put a timer and write for 25 minutes straight. Once the timer goes off, I take a five minute break to stretch. Of course if I'm on a roll, I just keep writing.
If I'm having a particularly hard time concentrating, I'll set the timer to ten minutes. Usually by doing that, the pressure and knowing there's a "light at the end of the tunnel" so to speak helps me get through the process more quickly.
3. Avoid turning on the television.
Turning on the television, even as background noise, invites more opportunity for distraction. If you want something to listen to, listen to playlists that have background chatter or even playlists listed as "brainfood". Or, create your own mix of music that helps you work.
4. Put your phone away (or behind your computer).
Keep your phone out of sight and across the room if you want to avoid distractions. You can use your "break time" to check your phone. Otherwise, keep it out of your line of vision so you don't get tempted to check it.
Personally, I've found that putting it behind my laptop has helped. It's out of sight but I can still charge it. Plus, I use it to play music.
5. Stay away from personal tasks.
After a long day of work, it's very tempting to want to get caught up on social media or mess about with a gaming app on your phone. But doing those things will likely take up more time than you think it will. Before you know it, you've spent 20 minutes scrolling through Facebook.
Instead, try to get a work station set up so you can get to business. Maybe make a cup of coffee or tea while you stretch (stretching usually helps me get back on track). Doing tasks that don't involve digital user engagement can help you stay in work mode without stressing you out or fatiguing your mind even further.