Creating (and Sticking) to a Work Schedule When Traveling

Last updated April 11, 2024

You land, get settled in your hotel room, freshen up and crack open the laptop to write those emails you started on the flight when… “What if I ordered in sushi?” pops into your head. You get your sushi, eat too much, now can’t workout—and well…

Mission email abort.

It’s not always easy to stick to a work schedule at home, let alone when you’re traveling. However, we’ve got to get the workload done somehow. 

Below are my top tips to create and commit to a schedule for work, working out and your life habits when traveling. 

Minimize Distractions

This doesn’t just apply for travel, but really for anywhere. Distractions are the kryptonite of our goals—most of the time. For some creative endeavors, I do believe daydreaming can be quite useful. However, for sticking to a schedule, ditch ‘em. 

Here are a few efforts I do to minimize distractions when I want to stick to the agenda I have outlined:

  • Put the phone in another room
  • Wear headphones to drown out other noises (works brilliant for planes, too)
  • Say “NO” to anything that comes in during that time block (more on this later)
  • Close browsers on my computer or put alerts on quiet mode
  • When my mind takes off in thought, remember the end goal I’m after

Let Your Schedule Be Seen

For years, I used a physical agenda that outlined my days, months, weeks and years. Once I started traveling more, it was quite hefty to carry around, so I switched to digital. 

While my RAM doesn’t appreciate that I keep the Chrome browser running, it does help me to see my calendar and schedule outlined by the hour. 

Each time I go to reference something online for an article (like I’m writing now) or need to respond back to an email, I see the block outline of the calendar and remind myself of the commitment and the time constraint. 

Be Ok to Say No

Boundaries are a blessing. If saying NO is something you’re not used to doing, I highly recommend you get started learning how to say NO. This not only protects your agenda, energy and time but your self-worth. 

Over time, your “NO” muscle can get stronger, more resilient and faster in your decision-making. I’m seeing this in myself, and now most decisions are instinctual. 

I use the following  set of questions when deciphering whether to say yes or no: 

  • Will this get me closer toward my greater purpose, or why? 
  • Does this sound fun?
  • Am I hesitating? Or evaluating? 

Get Some Help from the Hotel

When you’re booking or checking in, ask for a quieter room with less noise. Usually, corners and higher levels can be quieter, eliminating shoes from above or distracting neighbors. 

If the task at hand is work-related, you can also see if the hotel has a conference room or business center that’s open. Also, ask the concierge to recommend a spot with 5G Wi-Fi for uploads.

If your task at hand is working out or fitness, book it in your schedule like any other meeting and appointment— imagine you’re paying a trainer (or, maybe you are)!

Set Timer Reminders on Your Phone

On my phone, I have a list of about 15 different alarms to go off for any given task, all five minutes before the hour or time marker. 

“Social Media Post Reminder”

“Meeting Reminder”

“Leave the House”

“Flight Departure” 

“Call Sophia”

“Get Up and Stretch”

Naming conventions aside, what matters is having a quick toggle on an alarm to remind you to stick to the schedule. It’s like picking up a new habit where you snap the rubber band on your wrist to remind yourself, but this version is a bit less painful. 

This tip keeps me on daily agendas at home and away, and not late! Professionalism is the younger sister of commitments and respect.

Be Realistic with Time

Time for a self-awareness check. Not all of us are great at time management. Own that. And, improve upon it. 

If you know you’re usually 15 minutes late to meetings, buffer in additional time when planning to leave. If you tend to procrastinate your article writing or editing (guilty), add ten extra minutes each time, and improve upon that less and less with exercising that focus muscle. 

Yep—meditation—wellness travelers.

Schedule in Free Time to Explore

The more you resist, the more it persists. Book in a 30-minute walk or a two-hour bike ride, just to get away from the computer, meetings or routine of home. 

Allow for “lost” time and you’ll enjoy it more and be even more productive with your workload with a fresh mind and energy when you return. 

Working remote or from a hotel room, airplane or on the go can present its challenges. It can also be a lot of fun and invite fresh creative energies. 

A final note: invest in yourself by creating and sticking to a work schedule as well as commitments. Your mind and mental matters take notice.

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