However exciting a business trip can be, it can also be stressful. Sure, you’re meeting lots of potential partners, which means potential success for your company, and maybe you’re even in a new city, where you’ll get to discover exciting business opportunities and check out awesome art galleries. But it’s a lot of pressure, too. Not just meeting new people and trying to see as much of the city as you can, but you’ve also got small things to worry about, like packing the right clothes and getting to meetings on time when you’re suffering jet lag.
Luckily, however, there are some great strategies you can use to diminish your stress during your next business trip. So if you want to be as stress-free as possible the next time you travel for business, check out these strategies.
1. Get your sleep
We’ve all been there. That horrible time at 5 am when your alarm goes off, and it’s not even light out yet, and you know you have to shower, look nice, and pack a whole bag for your business trip in another city or state. It’s such an exhausting, stressful feeling that you end up staring at the ceiling longer than you should, dreading starting your day, and then you’re running even more late, breaking into a sweat that you’re afraid will ruin the clothes you’ve chosen specifically for your presentation.
All this stress is just too much to handle. What you should have done was book a later flight. And if that’s not possible because of your business responsibilities, then take a flight the day before, and stay in a cheap motel without amenities so that you or your business won’t go broke. If your boss doesn’t budge, explain that it’s not only detrimental to your health, but also to the business.
Tell them that according to the Harvard Business Review, “In a separate study of 81 organizations and 189,000 people around the world, we found that four types of leadership behavior are most commonly associated with high-quality executive teams: operating with a strong orientation to results, solving problems effectively, seeking out different perspectives, and supporting others. What’s striking in all four cases is the proven link between sleep and effective leadership.”
2. Pack light
But getting your sleep is just the beginning. Another important thing to consider when traveling–especially if you’re flying–is the importance of packing light. The last thing you want is a lost bag, and if you have your business clothes packed in there or important documents, it’ll be worse than just losing a bag. It means having to call your colleagues back at the office panicked, asking for copies of what you need, and you might not have time to stop by a store to buy the right clothes for your meeting.
21.6 million bags were lost by airlines in 2016, so it’s not worth the risk of checking any bags. Instead, pack everything you need into a carry-on you can take with you on the plane, and include your most important files (such as a list of your company’s trending products) in a personal bag. That way, if it’s a small plane and your carry-on gets gate-checked, you can still have your most important things on you no matter what.
3. Give yourself extra time
Did you know that, in October 2017, planes arrived on time 84.8 percent of the time? This means that, if you’re one of those people who’s usually rushing in the morning to make it to work on time, you need to change your habits when it comes to business travel. Arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight, and if you can, give yourself extra time to arrive at your meeting if it’s after you land. Sure, taking public transit might be cheaper, but taking a taxi can be the difference between landing a client or not.
In addition, you need to give yourself extra time just for you. We know it’s hard to do this when you’re traveling for business–after all, this isn’t a vacation. It’s work. But considering how busy you’ll be, and that work is the top cause of stress in the US, arrive or leave a day early so that you can check out that food truck festival you’ve been dying to see. Give yourself an hour in the spa. And book a hotel with a gym, if you love to exercise, even if it’s a slightly more expensive reservation.
By using these strategies, your business trip will be way less stressful, which means you can focus on what matters.
What other strategies do you use to stay stress-free while traveling?