I was sitting in my home office at the very end of December doing my quarterly preview in my Full Focus Planner– reflecting on the last quarter and planning for the quarter ahead. It had just hit me that I would be traveling 33 days between January and March (24 days for work and 9 days for a family road trip). Wow. I knew I had a lot of travel coming up, but I hadn’t exactly done the math.
As this realization sunk in, I knew I wanted to figure out how to maximize this experience – for myself, my family, and my team. Spending that much time away can certainly throw things off.
I knew it would take some intentional planning. So, I evaluated my routines, my responsibilities, and my relationships. Then, I set specific intentions for maintaining and improving each of those areas of my life, even while traveling.
Here’s how I approached it:
- Reflect on the past. I love to travel for leisure and for business, but I also recognize the negative implications it can have on my family and my own personal health. I reflected on what has made past travel (and re-entry) good and not so good. Then, I asked my husband and my kids the same questions about their experience when I’m away. I didn’t want my family to dread my travel. I didn’t want to feel guilty about being gone and miss the opportunity to soak up the experiences I was afforded. And I didn’t want my team to feel like I wasn’t available to help them clear roadblocks and keep moving on important projects. I used those reflections from the past to intentionally plan for a positive outcome – to maximize the experience for all of us.
- Maximize the experience. I used those reflections from the past to intentionally plan for a positive outcome – to maximize the experience for all of us. And to my surprise, it really didn’t take much. Just some simple, intentional tweaks. Here are a couple of examples of what I did:
- I spent focused time with my family right before and after each trip. This could be dinner, a movie night, or cheering on one of my kids at their basketball game – the key was that I was with them and present. It also meant I had to make sure my work was wrapped up and my bags were packed ahead of time.
- While I was away, I connected with my kids via text (they didn’t want to talk on the phone – I asked). I sent them pictures so they could see where I was, reminders about homework assignments, or a quick text before school saying, “I love you. Have a great day!”
- Modify daily routines. Jet lag aside, travel can throw off routines. So, I listed out the steps of my regular daily and weekly routines. Then, I decided which steps were still relevant – even if I was traveling. I ended up with a shorter list of travel-specific routines. For example:
- At home, I’ll take 30 minutes each morning to linger over my cup of coffee while I think and pray. When traveling, I’ll cut that down to 10 minutes to think and pray and grab a cup of coffee at my first meeting or event.
- Monday is “meeting day” for our company. Nearly all of my internal team meetings and one-on-ones with direct reports take place on Mondays. So, whenever possible, I attend these meetings virtually from wherever I am. I may take a later flight on Monday or fly out a day early on Sunday to participate in these meetings virtually from my hotel. Occasionally, the event I’m traveling for is on Monday, and I must miss them, but most of the time, I can keep my regular Monday meeting commitments.
Here’s what I learned…
With some intentional planning and effort, I was able to stay present with my family, fulfill my business responsibilities, and effectively modify my routines even though I traveled 33 days in one quarter. I also learned that whether I’m traveling, taking on a big project, or a busier personal season managing the logistics of three kids in baseball, track, and horse shows – these same principles apply. I can reflect on the past, intentionally plan for a better outcome, and then modify my actions and routines – and so can you.
Download this Full Focus Quarterly Preview Template to get started reflecting on the past and planning for the future. And if you want to learn more about the Full Focus Planner and how to use it effectively, inquire about private training or join our wait list for our next public Full Focus Planner Training!