We’ve lost count of the number of books and articles we’ve read about the ways in which successful people live their lives. But what special habits do business leaders have ‘on the road’? And how can we learn from them?
1. Turn downtime into ‘my time’ Travelling leaves you with a lot of time that can feel wasted. Successful people use it to tackle tasks that are difficult to fit into a demanding daily routine. For instance, Apple’s Tim Cook talks about the need to get on top of your inbox before it gets on top of you. That’s a perfect job when you’re waiting for your flight to be called.
2. Turn the tables When we’re not at home it can be easy to let events take control. Successful business travellers work the other way around. Follow their example and create a routine that lets you use time the way you want to. So if your hotel has a happy hour every night, build that into your routine, and use it to network. Or if you’re in a culture where everyone takes a long break in the middle of the day, use that time to catch up with what’s going on at home.
3. Turn time to your advantage If you’re in a different time zone from home, then you could have a golden opportunity to deal with any topics you need to before the home team is even out of bed. And if you’re travelling a long way, use the journey to catch up on your sleep. Then you’ll be ready for any challenge, as soon as you hit the ground.
4. Turn on, don’t just turn up Create the circumstances you need to perform at your best wherever you are. Don’t set yourself lower standards just because you’re away from home. Nobody would willingly stay in a ‘bad hotel’. But around 56 per cent of business travellers worry that they eat ‘bad food’ when travelling. Don’t’ do it. And remember to exercise. President Obama always goes for a run first thing in the morning, no matter where he is. (And he really is a busy man.)
5. Turn the rest of the world off You can be sure that Marissa Mayer isn’t woken up in the middle of the night by an all-office email. So get yourself a proper alarm clock, turn all your devices off at bedtime, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep. It’s amazing what you can do when you’ve turned the world off. A huge number of business leaders use their travelling time to consider the really big strategic challenges they are facing. It’s the only time they can concentrate.