How to avoid fatigue when travelling for work

Now people are starting to emerge from their Zoom screens and realising that just because things can be done on Zoom, doesn’t mean we want to.

There is a power of connection that cannot be underestimated and nothing quite beats being in the same room to build those relationships and connections required for optimal results.

Therefore people are travelling again for work. And many people make it harder than it needs to be, therefore spending way more energy credits than they need to.

Planning for delays

Post-Covid, it’s still not quite BAU for airlines. They have had to get planes back up and functional after sitting dormant for so long, manage less predictable travel loads, deal with staff shortages, unpredictable weather patterns, and the list goes on.

Long story short, air travel seems to have gotten harder. There seems to be way more delays, and more cancelled flights than I seem to remember pre-Covid. And if something goes wrong with a plane when it’s not in its home country, that can mean a delay of not just hours, but days, and then if you have connecting flights, the risk of delays can increase again.

These delays can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress (and therefore burning through energy credits) if you haven’t allowed for them.

Therefore factoring in a reasonable buffer can certainly make travel feel easier and save you some valuable energy credits.

As I write this blog I’m preparing for a presentation in Paris. I’m getting in two days before the session. That way, if there are any issues with the flight out of Sydney, I have scope for a 24 hour delay. If I planned to get in the day before and anything goes wrong with the flight or connection, I would probably miss the presentation and I don’t think our awesome clients would be too happy about that!

Save cognitive energy by keeping decisions to a minimum

Cleaning your teeth takes more energy credits when you do it in a hotel bathroom instead of your own bathroom at home.

So if travelling to the same destination regularly, try to catch the same flights, stay in the same hotels, eat at your favourite restaurants.

Keep the basics simple – don’t make them harder than they need to be

For example, I travel to Melbourne regularly and I love catching up with friends for a meal when I have an overnight stay – I usually suggest they pick the restaurant – one less decision I need to make.

I generally stay at the same hotel so that I’m familiar with the gym, breakfast buffet (yes I do love a breakfast buffet), close to good running routes that I don’t need to think about, all of these save me valuable energy credits on the basic stuff.

Have a travel bag that’s good to go, and a list for the other things that you pack regularly for work trips so that you don’t need to think about these each time.

And a wardrobe where everything matches also helps 😀

If you are travelling to different places try to outsource the planning as much as possible. Even just crowdsourcing people’s opinions on places to eat around where you are staying will save you some energy credits.

Then of course there are the basics that are worthy of reminder…

Sleep

I know I’m often touting the benefits of sleep (and the health implications of not getting enough) but when travelling it’s super important to prioritise sleep as it can be more difficult than when you are in your home time zone in your home bed.

It can help to start to this about the time zone you are going to and start to shift your sleep a little before you go.

Natural light exposure

Regardless of whether you are travelling or not, research shows that exposure to natural light first thing in the morning (no sunglasses) is great for our sleep/wake cycles. So again, even more helpful when you are trying to adjust to a different time zone.

Hydrate and eat well

Eating lots of leafy greens and avoiding heavy sugary food will also aid with your immune system and sleep while you’re away.

As for the alcohol – it might feel like it helps you to get to sleep, but it can interfere with your ability to stay asleep (which can already be more of a challenge across timezones). So best to lay low on the alcohol where possible.

Exercise

As well as all the usual benefits of movement, when travelling it will also help you with regulating your sleep patterns again. Doesn’t have to be vigorous, just enough to get a light sweat going on.

Avoiding fatigue while travelling isn’t just a physical thing, by optimising our cognitive energy while travelling, we can certainly make those work trips energising and productive.

If you are interested in helping your team to optimise their energy and performance while travelling we have plenty more tricks up our sleeves, so don’t be shy, Get in touch.