Life on the road, or in the air, for business travelers is often a juggling act. Between work, family, friends, personal hobbies, staying healthy, and everything life throws at you, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Travelers often feel stress, anxiety and a toll on physical health.
The good news, however, is that it’s possible to enjoy both a successful career and a fruitful personal life. Based on our experience working with different companies and their business travelers, we’ve come up with five ways to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
1. Stay Organized
This might sound obvious but it’s surprising how many people fail to get organized. Use your online calendar and set notifications (more than one if necessary) for meetings and important events. If you’re old school, outline your days and weeks in an agenda and make sure to check it on a regular basis. The idea isn’t to schedule each day down to the second - it’s important to give yourself some flexibility - but it’s much easier to write things down than keeping it all in your head and hoping you’ll remember that big meeting when it comes time. This will also prevent you from overbooking or double booking in your schedule. Once you find a system that works for you, you’ll find that being organized significantly reduces the stress of trying to manage your calendar.
2. Connect with Loved Ones
Make a concerted effort to connect with your loved ones during your business trip. Because you can’t engage in-person conversions, video calls are the next best thing. If that’s not possible, we’re sure your mom or significant other would love a phone call or text as well. Send them photos of the cool scenery. Ask them about what they did today. This is a great way to minimize the distance between home and work and feel closer to the people you love while you’re away.
3. Make it a Bleisure Trip
Do you still have some vacation days left? Extend your business trip and explore the city you’re visiting. Since your company should pay for the return flight regardless of when you return home, you can look at it like you’re getting free transport back for your vacation! Bleisure travel is a great way to decompress and relax after a business trip. If it’s possible, consider taking your family with you on your trip, too. Chances are, you’ll be happier and more productive when you return to the office.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Have you ever been so deeply focused on your work that you forget you just spent hours typing away on your laptop? If you answered yes, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to take care of yourself. Take some time out to go for a run or walk in the park or lift some weights at your hotel’s gym. Spend an hour reading on your favorite subject. Maybe there’s an interesting museum or event in the city you can attend to get your creative juices flowing again. If you’re traveling with your colleagues, explore the city with them or grab a bit to eat. Meditate if it helps you feel centered and live in the moment.
If it helps drive the point home, schedule these activities in your calendar and set a notification. Better yet, have an “accountability buddy” that will check in with you periodically to make sure you’re taking care of your mental and physical health while on the road.
5. Accept that Sometimes, You Won’t Achieve Work-Life Balance
Nothing in life is perfect so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t find that perfect balance right away. Sometimes you’ll have to do more work than you planned for. Sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice a social outing to finish that report due tomorrow. Don’t stress about it! Take each trip as a learning experience and an opportunity to improve how you manage your work life and personal life - eventually, you’ll find your groove. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another.