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Do You Work, Work, Work While on the Road?

When you’re away from home for business, do you ‘turn off’ work at a decent time (5 or 6pm) or do you keep working until you can’t see straight anymore?

I’m the last one to talk, as I’m writing this at 11pm on a Wednesday night from my hotel room desk. So maybe this article is more for me than for you!

Many women I talk with are workaholics when it comes to out of town trips. They start off on the right track by getting back to their hotel rooms at a normal time, but then it all goes downhill. Dinner with colleagues that goes on forever, room service brought in while a must-attend conference call takes place, a quick dinner in the restaurant then back to your room to finish up tomorrow’s presentation.

Follow these typical events up with a couple of hours online catching up with emails and a quick call home, and you find the clock approaching midnight.

Finally fall into bed, right after setting the alarm for a 6am wake-up call (if you’re lucky to sleep in that late) and start all over again.

You justify it. “Well, if I do the work while I’m away, I can enjoy my time at home” or “I’ll just do a little work while listening to tv.” Trouble is, the work never seems to end! And one tv show goes to another and you never noticed!

Here are some ideas to help balance out the work with time for you:

  • Ask the hotel for a shut-down call. They’ll think you’re crazy, but ask them to call you at the time you want to stop working, say 8pm. This is just the opposite of a wake-up call.
  • If you do have a conference call where it’s more listen-only, throw on some comfortable clothes and do yoga while listening to the call. At least you’ll be relaxing and getting a workout in while you double-duty with your call.
  • Get on Skype video and have a long talk with a family member or friend, maybe someone you haven’t talked with in a while.
  • Learn to set firmer boundaries around your time. Say no to an evening interview. Say no to dinner with colleagues that occur every evening. Say no to email. (I love the email tips in The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.)
  • Set a calendar appointment for relaxation time. We adhere to everything else on our calendar, so commit this time to you! Bring along scented bath beads and enjoy a long soak in the tub. Play your favorite music and totally unwind.

It’s truly amazing how a couple of hours (hopefully more!) of true downtime can get you recharged for the next day.

I find that when I don’t shut down, the workdays just run together and I’m exhausted by the time I get home. Whereas when I have some ‘me’ time at night I feel grounded, balanced and much happier.

So I’m off to heed my own advice. A soothing facial is coming up!

p.s. Here are my tips on creating your own facial in your hotel room (and more!), see Healthy Facial and Body Care Away From Home.

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