If you travel a lot for business – you are probably carrying too much baggage – excess guilt baggage. It’s weighing you down and making you less effective in your professional and your personal life!
I know – I carried excess guilt baggage too – until I took the advice from an American former movie exec – Chris Adams (my collaborator on The Chris Adams Project)
I travel to help clients in Singapore every couple of months. I would usually work hard all week, race to the airport at the end of my last day, and jump on the first plane home (so I could get back to my family as soon as possible).
I usually get little rest – arrive home exhausted – have to sleep for 8 or so hours to get over the trip away. I’m usually frustrated and cranky – and useless because of exhaustion. I’m physically at home – but not of much use to my wife, my kids or even to myself.
Then I took Chris’s advice – I lost my heavy guilt burden and I got smart and practical.
It sounds so simple – and it is. You’ve just got to be practical.
On my last trip, after my busy week I gave myself some breathing space.
I took a breath between tasks – “celebrated and rewarded” with a quiet walk around and a meal at one of my favourite places in Singapore – Raffles. I know it’s touristy – but I love it!
I then got a great night’s sleep at the hotel I was staying at (not Raffles! but across the road) and took the morning flight. I had a great flight – the best return flight I’d had in years – guilt-free relaxing and enjoying the in-flight entertainment and food.
I wasn’t worried about trying to sleep. I was “in the moment” enjoying the flight rather than worrying about all the work I had to do when I landed!
I enjoyed relaxing and treating myself to some “downtime” watching some movies.
I’m also a big business news “nerd” – so I watched CNBC’s Managing Asia (one of my latest favourite shows) and CNN Business Traveller and Business Class. I also love watching the Formula One – but I usually don’t take time to watch it. This flight I did – and loved it! (lots of business communication and decision-making lessons in Formula One!)
And the thing was – this wasn’t “wasting potential working or sleeping time”.
I got lots of great business ideas from being awake and alert and watching Managing Asia and CNN Business Traveller and Business Class. (I love these shows – and I love being able to watch them undistracted up in the air!)
My new travel approach was refreshing and recharging – and when I got home I was a better dad and husband.
Now, this year Chris has an exciting new job as director of Spondo (link below) and he is travelling so much for his new job. I rarely get to see him – we are both travelling so much.
We haven’t caught up to record for The Chris Adams Project since last year – but we’ll get to it soon.
Below is the original post with his travel tips – and the video. Enjoy!
ORIGINAL POST AND VIDEO
Chris Adams is a movie man, former Hollywood and Facebook exec who now lives in Australia.
In Australia, Chris runs a digital media agency (Beachball Media) and helps develop Australian movies, He travels hundreds of thousands of miles a year for business and is away up to 150 nights a year.
I learn a lot from Chris and you can too. I learn from him about business (pitching and negotiation etc.) and also about business travel (and juggling work and family.)
I like Chris’s honesty about challenges he faced with travel and how he had to learn to be “effectively selfish” to be a better business traveller (and family man when he gets back home).
Chris has a young son and used to cram too much into his business travel so he could get back home faster – but he found his work on his business trip suffered and he was so tired when he returned home.
I catch up with Chris every month or so and capture 2-4 minute videos of “biz-dom” (business wisdom) on my camera (easy for him, easy for me and easy for you as a viewer).
We caught up over coffee and I apologise for the background noise of hissing coffee machines etc. but I encourage you to listen to Chris’s story of how he got smarter about business travel.
Chris’s MAIN TIPS:
1. Don’t over-cram your business trip in your rush to get home. You should focus on being effective at your main priority tasks for the trip
2. Take a day extra and spread out your tasks more effectively – allowing space for you
3. Carve out downtime to rest and recharge – give yourself space for “your mind to stop spinning”
4. Don’t feel guilty about “taking it easy” and not going out on the town.
5. Rest is your secret weapon to improve how you perform on your business trip and how you re-engage with your family when you return
I travel a lot with my work too (not as much as Chris) and face similar issues with wanting to get back to my family as soon as possible.
Chris is so “on the money” in saying that if you tire yourself out you waste so much time catching up on sleep when you get home. I often jump on the first plane home after my work has finished. It’s often a night flight, I don’t sleep well, and I‘m out of action for a day when I get home.
Next trip (next month) I’ll definitely take Chris’s advice. (Now I just have to “sell” the strategy to my wife!)
Also, thanks Chris for helping me “lose some of the guilt” of enjoying having some time on the trip to re-charge. I often used to think I was “being weak” by just wanting to get room service and read a book. Instead of hitting the town of some exciting city I was visiting!
You know what I really enjoy about a short business trip break?
1. No loud noisy kid TV
2. Not having to stand on or pick up lego
Don’t get me wrong – I love lego and being with the kids (and my gorgeous wife of course) – I just enjoy some quiet time too! As Chris says, when you’re away on business you are so busy and so focussed on your tasks – you need some time for the mind to stop spinning!
If you’d like to get more tips from Chris about Business: here’s a link to our project – The Chris Adams Project (my suggested name – not his!)