Project Management Tips: Stay Productive on the Road

Like many project management professionals, you probably fit business travel into an already busy schedule. How can you maintain peak efficiency through it all? The tips below will get you started.

Stay in touch. Forward your office line to your mobile, or have another team member transfer important calls to you. Get a laptop with built-in wireless access, use a cellular carrier’s wireless card, or sign up for the hotel’s in-room Wi-Fi access (be sure it’s secure or use a VPN). Check e-mail and voicemail regularly, and activate an out-of-office message if your schedule won’t allow for frequent logins.

Delegate. Focus on your trip’s objectives and your core responsibilities, and assign as much of the other stuff as you can to the rest of your team. If critical-path activities will occur while you’re away (visits by inspectors, the arrival of new equipment, etc.), bring a fellow team member up to speed before you leave and delegate the entire task to them. They’ll expand their skill set while you put your energy into other aspects of the project.

Seize downtime. In-transit time is perfect for tackling tasks such as reviewing and commenting on documents, responding to e-mail and voice messages, evaluating vendor proposals, watching or listening to educational material, drafting new project plans, and reviewing any presentations you’ll be giving during your trip. It’s also a prime opportunity to relax and recharge with a good book, or even an in-flight massage.

Pack light. Stick to carry-ons to avoid the hassle of lost/delayed bags and hanging out in baggage claim. You’ll be more flexible when hit by last-minute schedule changes and delays, and hopping into a cab in the rain is less of a chore, too. Consolidate your electronics (fewer power cords!), invest in multi-use clothing, and bring only what you need.

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