In my current role, I am constantly traveling. I am either meeting up with people, attending events, riding along with coworkers or visiting farmers/growers independently. This past week, I primarily visited growers on my own.
I believe one of the best ways I, and many others, learn is by doing. Don’t just show me what that means. Teach me; allow me to try it and execute it myself. I retain that information or learn the task much quicker. It has been trying and invigorating, with highs and lows. Nonetheless, it is preparing me for a territory of my own in a few months.
Reflecting on this past week, I have pinpointed eight valuable things learned from living “on the go” for one week.
1. Plan your schedule ahead of time.
Making appointments with farmers can be difficult. This is their busy time of year. I plan my schedule as much as possible to save on wasted drive time and by meeting with people who are in close proximity on the same day or two. My Outlook calendar has become my best friend by keeping me organized with reminders and addresses for appointments.
2. When your schedule changes, be adaptable.
Since people are very busy, things come up. Schedules change, technology issues occur and not everything goes as planned. I have learned to adapt. Sometimes spending an extra hour at a grower’s house trying to resolve an issue with their computer builds an even stronger relationship, no matter how frustrated you might feel when things aren’t going smoothly.
3. Never solely rely on a GPS.
Moving from Ohio to Indiana, I figured I would be fine navigating this new state. Surprise! I have gotten lost more times than I can count, even with the use of a GPS. Back country roads and rural landmarks can be more beneficial in finding my way than inputing an address into a computer. Always have a backup way to find your location, whether it is a paper map or by calling the grower and asking for directions.
4. Pack snacks and water to go.
I have been attempting a healthier lifestyle by eating less processed and “fast” foods. Unfortunately, that is even more challenging when staying in hotels and not having fresh groceries. Now, I always carry at least 2 bottles of water with me and pack some granola bars, fresh fruit and veggies in a cooler for a few days. You don’t always have to get a meal from a restaurant. Stop at a grocery store for a package of hummus and vegetables, fresh fruit or even a pre-made sandwich. The cost of those foods is comparable, if not less, than purchasing a meal from McDonald’s or Wendy’s.
5. Always double check your bag for necessities.
I make packing lists when I go on trips. However, I always end up forgetting “one thing” and it usually is a necessity. Now, I am going to create a separate bag to always keep in my truck for those necessities. Better safe than sorry! Some hotels also have these small necessities available for free upon request.
6. Use hands-free calling and music for hours of entertainment.
Not just for safety reasons, but for entertainment and relief from boring drives, use Bluetooth in your vehicle for music and calling customers, coworkers and friends. I have even started listening to talk radio (new thing for me) to help the time pass. I have not gotten into the audio books spectrum, but will certainly try that out soon!
7. Use hotel meals and fitness centers to your advantage.
|That one time when I got lucky the Crowne Plaza had
a three-story workout center.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Whether it is a banana and a cup of yogurt or fresh-made omelets, sausages and potatoes, make sure you get some calories to start a busy day! Not only that, but if you are constantly sitting in a truck, your body needs some extra stimulation. Take a walk around outside for 15 minutes, complete a half-mile run on a treadmill or do some lifting with the available weights. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) has become a favorite for me while traveling, since most hotels don’t stock up on workout equipment. You can also do YouTube videos with free workouts. I like the variety from BeFiT (plus, they are all free to view)!
8. Enjoy learning.
Yesterday, I spent four hours with a grower. He invited me to stay for lunch at his farm and we enjoyed conversation about not just his farm, but agriculture and normal society discussions. I did not just learn from assisting him, but also by having regular conversations about life. Because I have built rapport with him, it enables me to learn faster and have more fun doing so!
I hope these tips help you if you are constantly “on the go” and please share any tidbits you have from your business travel experiences.