It can be tough as a road warrior. Gone are the days and struggles of having internet at your fingertips. But it is still hard to balance life and work on the road. That problem still exists. It is possible to get all your work done in a shortened period of time while on the road. The key is automatic prioritization.
We tend to fall into the trap of using app and widgets and things to keep ourselves organized. But if you do not have a sequence of prioritizing items and issues that arise, then all of your electronic systems will fall apart. It’s once thing to respond to an email automatically with an “Away from my desk” message. You can actually respond to the important emails and then schedule the expectation and time to talk based on the importance at a later date. Here at Digital Envy, I do this all the time. Whether at a conference or traveling with family. If the email comes in and it’s not burning, then you can easily address it within 24 hours later, at a time you are able to sit down and handle it.
Here is my simple system to be productive while working on the road
If it’s an emergency, address it immediately and attempt to delegate it to a team member. If this is not possible then attempt to understand the entire issue (which can buy you some time via email or through a phone call), then set the expectation. If the client or person can wait 24 hours, then give yourself the space and time to accomplish the first portion of the tasks at hand.
If it is not an emergency, ask the client or person if it can wait so that you can spend the appropriate amount of time and energy on the task. The key is to tell them this! Set the expectation that it is important to you, but since it is not a FIRE emergency, that it will have to be done in an order that fits into your schedule. If for some reason an issue arises from that, they chances are the issue may in fact be an emergency (or the person is impatient…)
Over the years, I find that most people are willing to accept meetings being pushed, if you set the expectation that it is an important meeting to you. Make them feel like you want to spend your undivided attention on them. In order to do that, you must extend the time it takes to get that done. Meanwhile, you can tend to the emergencies and fire-fighting.
If all else fails. turn your phone off and don’t check your email for a few hours. Unless you hold the nuke codes for the military, this is a perfectly acceptable path to learning how to disengage while on the road, but still spend a few hours a day max checking email and accomplishing tasks.