Work Life: How to Stay Energized on the Road

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”– Jack Kerouac, On the Road.

Our July persona here at Innovative Office Solutions is, “The Road Warrior”, and those of you out there who spend too much time traveling for work can probably relate to that quote from the classic novel about the beat generation. For some, life on the road is just part and parcel of their occupation. Some love it, some loathe it, but for everyone who has to remind themselves what city they’re in when they wake up in the morning, staying energized should be priority number one.

aff31056cfb54af5_dv2051009.previewObviously, the work at hand is crucial, but for anybody to put their best foot forward, maintaining energy is essential to optimize productivity. The math is pretty simple here: Work travel is exhausting. Airports, hotels, trains, cabs and conference rooms can suck the life out of the heartiest of road warriors. It’s simply part of the job for many of you though, and in order to put your best foot forward for both yourself and your company, staying energized is vital.

So here we give you, the Road Warrior, some tips on keeping your energy up while out on the road. And you don’t necessarily have to be a road warrior to implement some of these tips into your daily routine. For some, just the trek to and from work is enough to be classified as a road warrior!

Get Yourself to Bed

img_0030_getting-some-restYeah, it’s a simple tip, but it’s the most important one we can give you. Traveling is very taxing on the body. Different time zones and different surroundings can drain your internal batteries faster than anything. If at all possible, you should actually try to plan to give yourself MORE time to sleep when you’re on the road.

Easier said than done, right?

For many of you client or co-worker dinners are just part of the deal when you’re out on the road. Those 15-hour work days are all too real for the road warrior. You simply have to be disciplined enough to excuse yourself when it’s appropriate to get yourself back to your hotel and in bed.

“C’mon, one more drink, a nightcap will do you some good!”(Says the guy who gets to sleep in his own bed and can show up for work an hour later the next morning.)

No, it won’t do you any good. Another hour talking about the upcoming NFL season isn’t getting any work done and it’s depriving you of valuable sleep time. Trust us, if you’re up until midnight on the first night of a four-day road trip, you’re going to be less energized and far less effective for the rest of the trip.

We get it, sometimes client dinners can go long. There’s always planning for the next day once you’re back in your hotel room. Before you know it, it’s 11:30 pm. and you have to be up at 6 am. Do yourself a favor and opt for the extra hour of sleep over the prep for the next day. A well-rested you will be far more effective than a you that stayed up to look over a presentation you already had down pat anyway.

Take a Couple of Mental Time Outs

Life on the road can be pretty hectic. Bouncing from one meeting to the next and checking in with the home office two or three times a day can get your brain revving at a pretty high clip.

Find some time to let your brain rest. If you know how to meditate, do so. If not, just take a couple of minutes, either at lunch or during a break in a meeting, to concentrate on your breathing and shut off your brain from thinking about work.

Time outs are taken at the highest level of sports events for a reason. Catch your breath. Relax for a minute or two. When it’s time to get back at it, just a few minutes of relaxation will help to keep your brain energized throughout your day.

Be Mindful of What You Put in Your Body

At the risk of sounding like your mother, you road warriors have to eat responsibly. Try to avoid fast food, quick-fixes from vending machines and too much alcohol while on the road. While those things are obviously not good for you on a day-to-day basis, they’ll run you down even faster when you’re on the road.

Traveling is taxing enough, you don’t need to put an extra drain on your body by eating poorly. Bring some health bars along in your travel bag. You’d be surprised at what a boost you can get from a Luna, Clif or Kind bar. They’re not only filling, but they’ll give you good nutrients and more energy as you work through your day.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a drink with your dinner if that’s something you like to do, but don’t ever overdo it. Life on the road is hard enough on it’s own, don’t overload your body bad food or too much alcohol. Hey, listening to your mom is never a bad idea.

Learn to Renew on the Run

This tip comes to us from Megan Gilger, who blogs about a working life on the road. Her tip is to essentially learn to not sweat the small stuff, and even to let the not-so-small stuff roll off our backs as well.

Gilger writes, “Basically you know something is going to go wrong. Someone will mess up the map. Someone will forget the credit card somewhere. Something will maybe make you late to the airport. It is bound to happen, but you have to let go of it in the moment and not dwell on it.”

Few things can sap your energy like stress. Unfortunately, stress is part of the game when you’re a road warrior. You have to find a way to minimize it. Something as big as finding an hour to work out or as little as bringing a squeeze ball on the trip can help ease your brain from making too much out of the things that go wrong. Those things will happen. Learn to deal with them in a non-stressed out way. It will pay off by maintaining your energy.

Get Moving in Your Seat

A very helpful tip from Delta Airlines blog, Mental Floss, reads as such:

Possibly the biggest energy drain during a train or bus ride, road trip, or flight is the inability to move around much in your seat. Luckily, there are some handy techniques to trick your body into thinking it’s somewhere other than in a car or 30,000 feet up. Point and release your toes, grab shoulders with the opposite arm, roll your shoulders, pull your knees into your body, or do some neck rolls, heel lifts, or ankle circles. Then, give yourself a little love by massaging your calves or the back of your legs. The motions will keep the blood flowing in your body, stretch and relax your muscles, and, if done right, won’t be much bother to anyone around you.

Stay With Your Workout Regimine

image1Do you work out after work when you’re at home? Before work? If so, try to stick to your routine as much as possible when on the road. When you miss workouts, your body will tend to lose its usual energy levels provided by a workout. Granted, oftentimes when out of the road for work, there may not be enough time in the day to get in your usual workout.

If nothing else, throw a pair of running shoes in your travel bag and go for quick jog or a brisk walk before or after dinner. Even as little as 10 minutes of getting your heart going will give you more energy over the course of your time on the road.

Life on the road is tough, nobody is going to argue otherwise. It can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Travel for work produces more stress and anxiety than we’re normally used to and those things take their toll on energy levels pretty quickly.

Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and try to eat as healthy as possible. You’ll be home before you know it.