Traveling for work can be a real drag. Home or international, you’re going to be faced with a heap of down-time. Time that is normally occupied by changing nappies, cleaning up spilled food or honing your skills as Bath Time Superhero Extraordinaire. As a hard-working Dad that might sound like bliss. But if not, keep reading.
I used to dread the work trip. Days away from home coupled with free time that seemed to drag into eternity was my own Room 101. And don’t mention having to eat alone. I hated it and wished it would end as soon as possible.
There has to be a better way.
You can’t buy time or make time.
But you can waste it or kill it.
Over the past year, I’ve developed strategies to make work trips more bearable and productive at the same time. Hopefully these can help you in your next work trip to feel like you’ve achieved something on a personal level as well as business level.
Take a Good Book
If you’ve been reading the site for long, you’ll know that I love books. My love affair with books started from an early age. I can’t even remember a time when my home wasn’t full of books. My father even has his own library.
When I lived overseas, I would always take a book with me when traveling. Then I was prepared for long and extended delays. Second hand books were hard to come by in East Africa, but I made it work.
I carried this habit into my life when I returned to the UK and was commuting by train. Here trains are regularly delayed or cancelled. I would watch people around me freak out at the delay while I pulled the book I was reading from my pocket, secretly glad that the delay had happened so I could read.
Now that I travel more with work again, I always pack a book. A Kindle is great for travel as you can pre-load books on it before and have access to hundreds of thousands more anywhere with Wi-Fi.
When traveling I like to read non-fiction self improvement or business books. Something like Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich is great.
Since reading more, I’ve also stopped watching mindless television in my hotel room and have stayed away from more destructive habits (see below).
If you’re stuck for what to read, Ed Trigger’s site ‘52 in 52 Weeks‘ has some great recommendations for male-orientated literature.
Hit the Hotel Gym
Most large hotels have gyms or fitness suites (as they’re sometimes ominously called). These vary wildly in quality from a few cheap cardio machines to Nautilus and 40kg dumbbell paradises.
You want to occupy your time productively and the gym is the place to do that. A 45 minute workout plus 30 minutes cardio is a useful way to use up two hours. Plus you’ll be getting healthy and burning fat in the process.
Don’t despair if the gym is poor quality with baby weights. Power lifter Matt ‘Kroc’ used to struggle when he would travel. He was so strong that even the best equipped hotel gym was limited for him. So he developed this training technique:
He would do max rep sets of the heaviest weight (dumbbells or plate machines) to failure. He would then record his scores and the next time he was at that hotel, he would try to beat them. Not ideal perhaps but he was certainly making the best of that situation. If you follow a set programme such as 5/3/1 then you will probably need to take a break until you’re back in your home gym.
If this happens, I just substitute the workout with a targeted, more traditional body part split routine. For example if I was due to bench, I’ll just train my chest instead doing presses, flyes and dips. This hasn’t affected my strength gains.
Stay. Off. The. Porn.
Oh yes, I went there! Engaging in pornography is probably the single most self destructive activity you could do while travelling for business other than heavy drinking (even then…). Not only does it waste time, it also wastes your life force and helps you to:
Build up feelings of associated guilt
Develop sexual anxiety that is difficult to shake off
Feel less limited to engage in other self-destructive habits
Whoever told you that engaging in porn is acceptable, or even encouraged as sexual release for young Dads, lied to you. It’s not. Don’t do it. Use your time productively and you won’t even want to. Sex transmutation means taking the energy that you would put into sex and channeling it into something more productive.
So do this with porn. Use the time and energy that you would have used to engage in porn and use it to make yourself better.
Engage in Visualisation and Active Meditation
Lets face it, working away from home is pretty much the only time you get any peace. So it makes sense to take fully advantage of the quiet moments to do visualisation techniques and meditation or prayer.
Visualisation techniques such as those in Gorilla Mindset (see above) or active meditation can help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and could help you reach your goals sooner.
Authors such as Napoleon Hill have long advocated the visualisation of success to bring it into a reality. A modern interpretation of this is the Law of Attraction.
Work trips and business travel doesn’t have to drag or be a negative experience. With a bit of preparation and discipline, you can make good use of your time to get fitter, more intelligent and even more successful.
P.S. Got any tips to occupy your time on business trips? Post a comment below or send me an email.