Managing Time on Your Business Trip
Keeping a detailed schedule is a crucial element of any successful business trip. Meetings, conferences, workshops, and sightseeing are all fundamental aspects of a business trip, and with the proper time management and scheduling, your busy trip doesn't have to be a burden. Here are a few tips for keeping your schedule organized and efficient.
Schedule Business-Related Events
Schedule your most important events first (meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.). They're the whole reason you're on this trip and you need to make them your top priority. Everything else will revolve around your business schedule, so make sure you have them clearly outlined, with a little bit of wiggle room in case a meeting starts late or goes long. Give yourself plenty of time to get there.
After you've scheduled all of your planned events, find time to do personal business-related work. These will be your "office hours," where you'll prepare for your next meetings and keep up with any projects you still have going on back at your home office. Don't just try to squeeze these hours in when you have time in between meetings or sightseeing - if you don't schedule them in advance, those hours will get swallowed up in other more attractive ways to spend your time. Be diligent and focused with these important hours.
If you're on a business trip in a big city or someplace you've never been, schedule in time to see the sights. You might be here on business, but you'll regret it if you don't take the time to explore. Do your research in advance. Don't arrive in a new city without knowing what you want to see and how to get there; you'll get overwhelmed and won't see nearly as much as you'd like to in the time you have. Plan out efficient routes and methods of transportation, and make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to your important business events.
After the sightseeing and your busy business schedule have worn you down, make sure you have time back at your hotel to nap, read, or relax. Don't wear yourself down. Get plenty of sleep and take care of your body so that you can be alert and focused. Give yourself time to eat all your meals. Whether you keep your calendar digitally or on paper, make sure you have more than one copy. If your electronic device shuts down or you leave your notebook in a hotel room by accident, you'll want to have a back-up copy so that you can keep your appointments. Make sure you have back-up plans for transportation and meals as well. If a scheduled transportation vehicle falls through, you'll need another reliable option.