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Back in January I wrote a post about my 2019 plans–not resolutions, but plans with action steps to go through. Somehow we are heading into mid-year review time (how is it already mid-May??) so I wanted to check in on my progress.
Turns out I’m doing really well and have crossed several of the action items off of my list. But I realized that as productive and efficient as I have been this year, I’m missing out on something even more important–personal connections with my family and close friends. I’ve been so focused on my goals that I’ve buried myself in my work, especially when I’m traveling.
It’s not always easy for business travelers to stay connected to their home life when they’re on the road. Isolation and loneliness are common feelings for people when they’re away from the familiar. Losing myself in work during busy periods can mask the sadness for a time, but during quieter moments it can hit full force.
In the past I’ve tried making trips more fun and staying busy, even when I don’t necessarily have to be. But while I feel productive (which I like) it doesn’t solve my underlying issue: staying connected to those I love, even when I’m gone. As I miss birthdays, parties, milestones, or simple conversations, it seems like the more I travel the more emotional distance is between me and my beloveds.
Here is the goal I’m adding for 2019, mid-year: stay connected to loved ones during business travel, even though it’s not always simple.
My action items will be smaller, intentional changes I’m going to make that will hopefully make this much easier:
- When I’m traveling I will ensure that I’m not doing busywork, that the tasks I’m accomplishing are things I would otherwise have to do at home. This will free me up to spend quality time with those I love–long lunches with friends, snuggles with my kiddos, actual conversations with my husband.
- I also plan to sacrifice a little fun on my trips to get more work done. But don’t worry, I’m not going crazy! Maybe on the flight home instead of watching a movie I’ll spend 45 minutes on a presentation, followed by an episode of Will & Grace.
- If my business partners suggest a date for a trip that isn’t ideal, I will push back when it makes sense. Generally I have a lot of flexibility for my trips but I often just accept others’ suggestions. Moving forward I will speak up for myself and request dates that are best for me and my family.
- Carve out a few minutes each day of my trip to check in with someone I care about. I already do this with my husband and kids, but not necessarily my mom, sisters, or best friends. A quick text or phone call is sometimes all it takes! I’ve also started adding reminders to my weekly to-do list to reach out to people that I haven’t talked to in a while. Yes, it feels a bit clinical, but it gets the job done.
Readers, how do you stay connected to loved ones during business travel?
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