Business Travel 101: General Tips

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You’ve landed … finally.

Your three-and-a-half-hour flight got in 2 minutes early (thankfully!) and you are ready to hit the ground running with meetings today and a business dinner tonight.

And you are anticipating having a packed three days before you hop back on a plane and come home to some kiddos who have really been missing mommy or daddy.

We’ve got a couple tips on how to making your trip feel a little more “at home.”

Tip 1: Unpack

Most people don’t enjoy living out of a suitcase, and it is surprising how many people who travel for business keep their clothes all folded and in their suitcase for the trip.

We’d say, hang up your clothes in that little closet in your hotel room. And while you do, take some deep breaths and think about where you’ll be for this trip.

You can use this to ground yourself and mentally prepare for the next few days.

Tip 2: Go to the Grocery Store

Often times while traveling for work, it can feel like you are always eating out (because often you are!).

We’d recommend you take a quick trip to the store to pick up a couple of things. Maybe you love mangos, or chips and salsa. Grab a couple of your favorite items and be on your way.

Tip 3: Do Something for You

Often on business trips, the days are packed and you’ve got to figure out how to squeeze in all your regular responsibilities into an already packed day.

It can be so easy to run from 6am-6pm (or later), and by the end of the trip feel even more exhausted.

On each trip you take, we’d recommend you get out and go do something in the city or town you are in. Need some ideas to get started:

  • Go for a run or hike to see a different view than you usually do.
  • Take a little time to walk around the city after your dinner.
  • Drive past the cool monument or statue in the city you are in.
  • Go to dinner at a live music place.

So, on your next trip, try these out and let us know how they go! Oh, and feel free to leave us your best business travel tips!

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Setting Priorities when Things are Crazy

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We’ve all had those moments… you know, those moments when you are happily sitting at your desk knocking things out and then your phone rings and you hear:

“Heyyyy, so we’ve got a new project that we’ve got to get done by tomorrow” YIKES!

Instantly it’s all hands on deck and your to-do list is totally thrown out the window.

BUT – there are still things on that list that you need to get done! You can feel your heart rate start to heighten and your palms get sweaty – now what?!

How do you deal with the fires?

Step 1: Calm it down!

You know you’re not at your best when you are stressed. Nothing productive gets done well when you are in that space.

Do what you need to do to get back to a place of thinking in your logical brain verses thinking from your stress. How do you actually DO that?

  • Take a couple of long (6-8 second) deep breaths
  • Get out of the office for a minute, go walk across the street to grab a cup of tea or coffee
  • Plan for a quick run during your lunch break

Step 2: Take a step back

Make a list of all of the items that HAVE to get done today or tomorrow. Look to see if there is anything that you can push out another day or two, or delegate to someone on your team (need tips on how to delegate effectively? Check out here, here, and here).

Communicate with those around you of what came up: tell you boss that you’ve been handed this last-minute task and you’re prioritizing it, let your team know that you’ve been handed a huge project and that you’ll probably be a little more on edge today. Being transparent with those around you will serve you all well!

Step 3: Set Realistic Expectations

You know you can’t do everything, so start thinking through your to-do’s in buckets.

Bucket 1 – Quick knock-outs: Is there an item or two that you can complete in the next 20 or 30 minutes? Do those quickly – spend no longer than 30 minutes on each. Feeling better as things start to be checked off your to-do list? Great. Move to bucket 2.

Bucket 2 – the biggies: Buckle down and knock out the most important/time sensitive item. Is someone waiting for a piece from you to be able to work on theirs? Tackle that now.

Bucket 3 – Finish it up! Circle back to those important items that take a little longer.

Try these out and let us know your best practices in dealing with fires!

Developing You

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If you could have more of one thing in life, what would it be?

…………

Did you answer with time or money? If so, you are right up there with about 85% of Americans.

We are all. so. busy.

And now, we are suggesting that you take more time out of your day to develop you. If you haven’t been with us the last few weeks we’d encourage to check out our past two posts on why to spend the time and where to start.

This week, we’ve got the VERY exciting chance to talk about WHEN to actually do this.

Some days it can be so hard to find the time to make a pit stop in the bathroom, let alone take a class or work with a Coach!

But, if you just continue to do what you have been, chances are you won’t continue to grow in the ways you hope to. (I know… this post is getting all serious!)

The best way to find the time to develop you is to set aside the time and don’t let anything get in the way.

I can almost feel the eye rolls happening and hear the “But….”

Maybe you need to schedule yourself to “leave” work an hour early once a month but instead of going home, stop by the library to work on your class.

Or maybe instead of hanging out in the break room for lunch, go down by the park and read.

LITTLE tweaks can make a really big difference.

Whatever it is you’ve chosen to do, it is time to make the choice that you continuing to grow is just as important as you getting your job done.

So.

Take out your calendar and choose a time- block it off.

Then, go talk to whoever you need to help keep you accountable to that (maybe it’s your team so that they know they really can’t bother you during that time or your boss or your spouse or trusted friend).

But, tell someone what you are committing to.

We are excited for you to continue to grow and we’d love to hear about what you’ve committed to!

Working At Home

Working At Home

As the world gets more and more virtual, so does our work. Studies have shown that 3.7 million employees (2.5% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time and more and more companies are moving to be totally virtual.

Sound exciting? We agree – at CRN, we’re proud to be in those ranks as well.

BUT – if you have worked from home for even a small portion of your week, you might have found some interesting traits about yourself and home/work style:

  1. You are so PRODUCTIVE. When you’re not concerned about the commute home, worrying if you locked the front door, or if you have to sign for that delivery – some of the typical stress of being away from your dwelling is completely out of mind and taken care of. You also don’t have the social cues to head to Starbucks with a colleague, or spend a bit more time at the proverbial water cooler, so those extra minutes are spent knocking things out!
  2. Some days, it’s harder to stay focused on the tasks at hand. AND stay motivated. The joy of working from home is that you’re, well, at home. The not-so-joy? All of the off-work distractions are front and center – and there’s no one physically there to hold you accountable.
  3. I’m kind of lonely. It’s harder to fulfill that basic human interaction need when all you’re doing is staring at a computer screen!

What other aspects have you found out about yourself while working from home?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at a few of our Team’s tips and tricks on how to keep the work-at-home productivity rockin’ and the distractors at bay – to have the most productive, work-at-home day ever.

Stay tuned!

But They are Boring….

Bored

There are SO many things on your plate right now that having another conversation with [insert that person’s name here – oh, you know who they are!] seems unbearable.

Yes – they deserve your respect, and you DO respect them. But talking to them is just. so. BORING. It feels like you have nothing in common and you’d rather undergo a root canal than getting stuck talking with them at the company happy hour again.

This week we have the treat of having Coach Brooke O’Shea with us to share some tips on what to do if you are talking to someone who you are finding boring.

Take it away, Brooke!

Brooke O'Shea-  Word BubbleDear “Bored”,

From time to time we all find ourselves in scenarios where it is difficult to make meaningful connections with others.  I would encourage you to ask yourself a few questions when in these situations:

  • First, what is your desired goal of engaging with this individual?  
  • Second, what is your counterpart’s potential goal of engaging with you?  
  • Third, are the difficulties you are experiencing based on language barriers, personality types, beliefs, gender, generational differences, etc.?  
  • AND finally, have you considered all options in finding common ground?

Assuming that you and the other party have mutual benefits for connecting, the next step is to consider what barriers you are encountering in finding a common interest.  

While exercising caution to avoid becoming an interrogator, continue to ask open-ended questions around topics you enjoy until you find that thing that the other person’s eyes light up about! I personally find that by asking more questions, I can typically find a topic we both find passion around.   

My “tip” for those who find small talk awkward, prepare a few subjects that interest you ahead of finding yourself in those difficult social situations. Plan to discuss a current book you are reading, a TV show, an exercise routine, upcoming travel plans, the town where you grew up, or where you hope to retire – those can get your juices flowing!

Thanks, Brooke!

Let us know how these tips work for you!

Cutting In Line

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Your day has been busy running in and out of meetings.

As you’re on your way back to your desk, your direct report stops you saying, “hey, I have been meaning to talk with you about….”

As they are talking all you can think about is the next thing you are going to say. You even find it hard to let them finish their point because you are so ready to jump in.

If this is you, then this week we’ve got some tips for you!

One of our great Coaches, Helen Cooper, is here to give us some tips on what to do if you tend to think about your next point while the person you are talking to is still finishing.

Take it away Helen…

 

Helen Cooper- Blog“Thinking ahead is a natural response in a fast-paced environment.

It requires focused behavior to understand and acknowledge another thought/opinion.

I use a couple of tricks to ‘slow down’ mental responses.

  • Try to engage differently by ‘listening’ more intently.
  • Focus on the key points the person is trying to make.
  • Don’t formulate a response immediately.
  • Use visual cues, they are really helpful.
  • Try to maintain eye contact when the person is speaking.
  • Don’t be distracted by texts or devices, stay engaged in the moment.
  • Check your understanding by paraphrasing the key points.
  • Think back to research or school days when trying to understand the key learning points in a lecture (really try focusing on content!) before thinking about a potential application!

Thanks, Helen!

If this is you, then this week then try out of Helen’s tips and let us know how it goes!

Listening… Even When You’re Busy!

No body hates a listener

You can see your colleague’s mouth moving, but the words are starting to drift off…

*ding, ding*

Your phone busses with an email from a client

No… focus, what was he saying again?

*Knock, knock* at your door… it’s your boss –

“Hey, quick reminder, we’ve got that business development meeting in 10 minutes, don’t be late”.

“I’ll be there!” you say quickly.

Ok – refocus… You look at your colleague and say, “I’m sorry, so in wrapping up….”

Ultimately, we want to listen – but in the busyness of life, it is so easy to get distracted.

And, for some of us, really listening can be challenging.

Over the next few weeks, we will be hearing from some of our great Coaches on tips on how to listen well, even when it’s hard!

Need help right now? If you’re finding it difficult to really focus on what the person you are talking to is saying, here are a couple of tips to start with:

  1. Put your phone on silent (this is such an easy distractor when it’s buzzing!)
  1. Prepare yourself to listen (relax and get comfortable)
  1. Try to really understand the other person’s point of view (ask “how” or “what” questions to gather even greater understanding)
  1. Listen to both words AND tone to gauge a deeper understanding of what they are thinking or feeling
  1. Watch for non-verbal communication cues for other feelings or reactions (these can be facial expressions, eye movements, or gestures).

Try these out and let us know how they go!