When you do your work on the road — as a salesperson, putting together international business deals, or just attending a professional conference — you need to take extra precautions to stay organized. It’s all here — from making travel plans to tracking expenses to returning to the office.
keep a pre-packed overnight bag ready for short-notice trips
include duplicates of toiletries and sleepwear
avoid over packing by planning ahead
create a standard packing list to use again and again
choose clothes that don’t require special care or dry cleaning
pack clothes that you can mix and match
choose outfits that can convert into either business or casual
avoid checking your luggage
pack two small carry-on bags — one for clothes and one for work
keep well-stocked with office supplies
include pens, stapler, notepads, paperclips, a calculator
create a “travel folder” for papers and materials you will need
include presentations, reference items, unfinished work, travel info, etc.
fill your folder as you plan your trip — or attach a running list to the folder and fill just before you leave
keep all of your travel info on one sheet — agenda, flight, hotel, rental car
build in a cushion on either side of your appointment for delays
have a contingency plan in case an appointment is canceled
bring work or reading material with you to fill time between events
plan in some personal time to relax or sightsee — to unwind
use separate credit cards for business and personal purchases
keep all of your receipts in a manila envelope or zippered pouch
mark your expense form as you go and retype when you return
keep important paperwork all in one place in your hotel room
label “don’t throw away” (for cleaning staff) when out of your room
review the materials you have received at the end of each day
categorize and make notes you while it is still fresh in your mind
keep a running list of items that require attention when you return
take care of as many items as possible before leaving — return phone calls, answer letters, etc.
let clients and colleagues know when you will be unavailable
make it easy for your staff to reach you should they need you
give copies of your itinerary to your spouse and secretary
also give a copy to the front desk at your hotel
clearly define those items that warrant interrupting your trip
train your staff to handle issues without you
back up your computer and sync your PDA so office has your current info
change your voice message to point callers to the correct colleague
make your arrangements through a travel agent to save time
request your flight seat assignment when getting your reservation
be seated near the front of the plane to be one of the first off
the earliest flight possible gives you “buffer” in case of delays
choose a hotel that offers services to business travelers — fax, copier, internet, courier service, etc.
look for free services that make morning easier — continental breakfast, newspaper, iron, etc.
take a few moments to put everything away at home and work
go through mail, voice messages, and e-mail as soon as you can
make note of any issues that require your attention
create three piles — “to delegate,” “action items,” and “to file”
delegate items to others immediately upon return
put your list in order of priority with most urgent items at the top
plan time to tackle each item, from top of the list downClick here for reuse options!
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
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