Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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working while traveling

On the Road Again! 7 Expert Tips to Enhance Your Productivity

I love traveling and am happily back on the road for conferences, corporate trainings, and strategic/succession planning sessions. 

Working while traveling is like a dream for many people, but it is a struggle for others. The so-called “digital nomads” are those who are constantly traveling, but unlike me, without a home base. While it’s not ideal for everyone, it can be an excellent lifestyle if it suits you. Whether you are a seasoned digital nomad or just find yourself trying to focus on the road, these tips may help.

1. Choose to work.

The work needs to be accomplished, and that means allocating the time to get things off the to-do list. Create a plan every day and work the plan. Stick to the schedule you created. Don’t let random distractions ruin your work flow. 

2. Use that extra-time.

I am always amazed at how much time people waste in airports. This is time you don’t get back, so use it well. Whether it is finishing a task before the food arrives at a restaurant, or while waiting in the airport lounge, use that time. Plan for not having good connectivity and have projects to do offline. Standing in line? Check and reply to emails while you are waiting.

3. Combine your work routine with sight-seeing.

Of course you want to explore the new area when traveling. Use the new environment to think creatively. “Context switching” is one of the great ways to stay productive. It is also an excellent way to explore a place while you are working. Bring your laptop and visit a café so that you can continue doing your work from there. You can work from literally anywhere. 

4. Get work done when you are most productive.

You probably know what times throughout the day when you are most productive.

For example, I know that I am very focused first thing in the morning, so I try to use that time to work on my most challenging projects. I know that I can be less focused in the afternoons, so that is when I arrange for client calls. I know I MUST be 100% focused on my coaching clients, so conducting calls in the afternoons forces me to be at 100%. Having the calls helps me make good use of the time when I would otherwise not be as productive. 

5. Use tools that work for you.

Whether you are using apps to make you more productive, reminders on your phone, or a yellow pad, know what works to help you stay organized, so that you can always focus on your important tasks, and to make sure you are not forgetting something you promised to do. 

Beth Ziesenis, of, specializes in teaching people how to use apps to increase personal and professional productivity. One of the points she makes is that easily accessing online tools is important. Ideally, use tools you can access from anywhere, and that are available (and synced) across multiple devices.

6. Allocate enough time.

In the Harry Potter series, Hermione gets a device that allows her to time travel, so she can be in 2 places at once. I sometimes need to remember that I don’t have that device. I optimistically tend to over schedule my time, somehow thinking that when I travel, I don’t actually need to sleep (wrong!) or that a 5:30 am flight from an airport that is 75 miles away from my location is a good idea. 

Reduce the unwanted stress of over scheduling by realistically carving out enough time at your destinations based on your workload.

7. Set expectations with your team.

While it is great to travel, have adventures, and explore, when traveling for work, make sure the work gets done. Talk to co-workers you may be traveling with to set expectations about when you are getting together for fun, and when it is time to work. 

Let your team know when you are scheduled to work and then stick to that schedule so you are not holding them up on their part of the project. This builds trust and allows everyone to work more productively. 


Bonus tip: Having an accountability tool on the road is a must. The 5-Minute Leadership Guide will help you to stay focused, goal-oriented, and productive while in the office or on a plane. Plus, it doesn’t require a wifi connection! Order a copy HERE



  1. Connie Warden

    Love this, Mary.
    What I discovered lately, when I can’t get on line and get things done is to clean up thousands of pictures on my phone. Delete some, email some to my picture folders, what can I use for social media, etc.

    • Mary Kelly

      Oh Connie, that sounds like a great use of time! When I cannot get online on planes, I go through the downloads on my computer, and then either move them to trash or put them into the right folder. We have to be productive! Thanks for the photos idea!


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