My career started a scary 15 years ago and always involved heavy traveling to visit clients – starting from Spain and Portugal and now mostly Mexico and the US.
As a decidedly type-A person starting a corporate job, I wanted to impress and my attitude to business trips was – as everything else – extremely diligent and focused. As time has passed, however, I have learned a few things that have made me feel happier and embrace business trips not as a hiatus from life but as a complement to it. For those wiser than me, or those with more relaxed careers, these tips may seem ridiculous (!) but I have learned them relatively late and they have changed my relationship with work and work trips specifically.
1. Wear what you want
Sounds simple, I know. But wearing clothing you love and make you feel like you and not like you are putting on a costume has been key for me. That means evolving in what I thought “business” meant. Within boundaries, be comfortable and feel genuine. Pushing more traditional boundaries with your jewelry or choice of colors is not meant to be sending a statement to the world just allowing you to feel more comfortable and confident in your skin.
2. Take care of yourself
Colleague: can you go to X city on Monday? (That means traveling on sunday). For most of my career, I didnt think twice and said yes. Now, I think a bit and see if there is a way that work fits better around your life. More often than not, no one is going to die if you reschedule to Tuesday (depending on your dayjob!) Use your judgement and take a minute to see if the proposal works for you and suggest an alternative.
3. You dont have to go to all the social events
Colleagues meeting for dinner or breakfast? I usually like them and all, but some me-time is very necessary and makes me feel more balanced. Say no once in a while and go to the gym, go walk around town, or hell just stay in your hotel room watching the food network.
4. Find idle periods and fill them with things you love
Usually schedules are tight and free-time is not part of the agenda. Bring an interesting book to read on plane, put on earphones and listen to music on the taxi, run on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Time is scarce but small windows of things you love can help you relax in between important meetings and bring balance. Personally I have found listening to my favorite playlist for 10 minutes in between meetings brings me a certain level of calmness and joy.
5. By all means treat yo’self but sticking to some level of routine will make you feel better when you get home
You are away from home, taken a long fight and preparing for an important meeting – at the very least you should have an appetizer, a glass of wine and dessert right? Are u with me? Been there thousands of time, food and drink the only small indulgences you have time to give yourself. I am all about that life but upon my return, I realize my diet was thrown off course and I feel guilty for not exercising. If you travel frequently, this is just not a sustainable way of achieving and maintaining your goals. So you know what? Instead of the club sandwich from room service, once in a while I will order the caesar salad which is often not as bad as you might have imagined. And yes, water is fine thank you, friendly bartender.
Good luck out there roadwarriors!!