I’m on the road this week and I wanted to share a few ways that I keep things balanced when I’m providing services out of a hotel room. I’ve got some fun articles coming soon but would love your questions as well for Q&A. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
First, sleep is a non-negotiable.
For some conferences and extended travel gigs, you don’t really get a choice in the scheduling. You might be working from 9am-9pm every day for three days. That can be really grueling on the body. When possible, I work out napping for my teams and make sure they’ve got at least a couple hours through the day to sneak back and get some shut eye if we’re working late. If that’s not possible, I set my room up for sleep before I leave in the morning. I make sure the drapes stay closed, the alarm clock is set and all my skincare routine is ready to go. This way I can come back and run through my nighttime routine in a matter of minutes before hitting the hay.
It’s so tempting to burn my last two braincells out with TikTok the second I get into bed but I really try to unplug while working on the road. It’s a great excuse to get a little digital detox. When I need to catch up with family or friends and respond to texts, I do it in the Lyft on the way back to my room in an effort to reduce my screen time before I crash.
A tired, strung out interpreter can be the worst reflection of your team. I always make sure my teams are taking care of themselves and when possible will swap the first hour in the morning to give them extra time in the morning.
Second, before I get to the hotel I scope out the food situation.
One of the hardest things about travel work is finding decent food and delivery can really eat into the check you’re taking home. I typically will look at grocery stores and delivery apps to get some healthy options and protein bites all in one shot. If there’s a fridge, I make sure I’m stocked up on water and other goodies before I launch into the gig. It’s really important that I’m not distracted by hunger and I don’t want to waste hours of precious sleep time at night hunting for food.
Third, I take time for myself when I’m on a long gig.
The road can be really lonely and living to work is no way to enjoy it. When I can, I hit the hotel bar, stroll the downtown or find a museum to squeeze in. Not only does it help me feel a little more like a normal human but it also allows my brain an escape from the consuming prep work. When possible, I extend my trip by a day or two to explore the area and meet people. Because of that, I’ve made friends all over the world and now when we go back to those areas I can connect with people. It feels a little less like I’m traveling and out of sorts in that way.
I do keep the partying to a minimum. I’ve always been very honest about my work life balance and anyone who knows me will tell you I live for a dance floor. I am incredibly cautious however, about how much I drink and party while on the road. I’ve never missed any work because of it and I don’t have any horror stories but I’ve heard some. The last thing I would ever want to do is embarrass a client by showing up disheveled and hungover. Plus, traveling is exhausting enough as is. I certainly don’t need to be fighting the spins on the way to a really challenging keynote that I’m excited to work.