If you’re like the majority of the population, you’re overworked and overstressed.
ABC News reported: Not only are Americans working longer hours than at any time statistics have been kept, but now they are working longer than anyone else in the industrialized world.
In addition, Britons are working more than 48 hours a week, 350,000 more than a decade ago, according to Daily Mail.
I’m a member of the club with people who work more than 55 hours a week and have children.
You might be able to relate. Time with family always feels too short. Work-life balance, what’s that?
Alone time is rare. But I’m one of the lucky ones. I run a successful digital marketing agency and get to spend most dinners with my wife and children.
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Since time is so valuable, it’s best to make every minute count and I’ve learned how to seize the day.
Often having to combine business with pleasure, I’ve learned how to schedule my meetings to maximize my leisure time, which sometimes includes taking my family with me on business trips or planning ahead in order to schedule "me time".
Here’s how you can maximize your leisure time as well, making business trips feel more like vacations.
1. Never Schedule Your First Meeting Until at Least 10 a.m. and Wake Up Early
In many places, there’s a lot to do early in the morning:
- Have a relaxing breakfast
- Go for a swim
- Take a fitness class
- Go for a boat ride
- Go fishing
- Take a hike
- Get a massage
2. Only Schedule Meetings That Are Necessary
In his article, Meetings: When Are They Needed and When Are They Not, Matt Byrom offered five valuable ways to determine when meetings are needed, noting that unnecessary meetings cost companies thousands of dollars.
His advice includes:
- Only meet if there’s a good reason to meet.
- Go into every meeting with goals in mind – consider what you want to achieve by the time the meeting ends.
- Only schedule meetings when the timing is right.
- Only invite people who actually need to be there.
- Preparation is key. Make sure attendees are well informed and prepared.
3. Keep Meetings Short
There’s always that one person at every company who asks the annoying questions and drags things out at what always seem to be the worst times.
Don’t let this happen.
- Set a start time and an end time, with a hard stop.
- Prior to holding a meeting, create an agenda and send it out to all attendees. Ask them to review it make note of the any key areas they need to speak to. Have everyone be prepared going into the meeting.
- Give everyone a few minutes to share their comments.
- Give a 30 minute and five-minute warning.
Related Article: 8 Strategies Famous CEOs Use to Fight Ineffective Meetings
4. Stay an Extra Day
Ask your boss if you can extend your trip by a day. If the transportation accommodations would be more expensive to do so, ask if you could pay the difference.
You’re already traveling and you’ll save money on transportation to your destination. If you can’t stay a day later, try to catch a later ride home.
If your last meeting ends at 4 p.m., you’ll get a few hours to explore prior to heading home.
5. Make The Most Out of Your Airport Time
Sitting in an airport for hours can be daunting even if your flight is on time. Make the most out of your time by planning activities accordingly.
They might include work or leisure activities such as:
- Having a meeting
- Getting work done
- Attending a webinar
- Reading a book
- Playing cards
- Trying a new type of food
- Watching a movie
- Invading the magazine racks
- Giving yourself a manicure
- Meeting new people
- Trying on clothes you’d never thought you'd wear
- Purchasing a new outfit
6. Eat Well
If you don’t have much control over how your business trip is laid out, you can always rely on having time to eat.
Ordering room service is one of my guilty pleasures. Whether I’m alone or with family, it’s always nice to relax after a long day, not having to lift a finger.
7. Take a Long Shower or Cozy Bath
Run a long hot shower and don’t worry about time. During that time, try not to think about the meetings and work you have ahead.
Just relax and take in the smells of the hotel’s soaps and shampoos.
8. Book a Room With a View
If you end up having to go on a business trip where you will need to work in between meetings, be sure to get a room with a view and take advantage of the scenery while working.
You could even take your phone meetings from a balcony.
9. Schedule Meetings in Scenic Locations
There are going to be times when you’ll need to visit clients at their place of employment, but suggest meeting offsite such as:
- In a park
- The local coffee shop
- A museum (some have quiet areas to meet)
Another suggestion is to have meetings at restaurants. Turning meetings into meals makes them less daunting.
In closing, I leave you with this: business trips can be a luxury. They afford you an opportunity to get out of the office and experience something new.
Planning ahead is key in maximizing your leisure time.