One of the realities of being in business is sometimes having to travel. Sometimes the travel will be to conventions and other networking events. Other times it will be to iron out contracts or other business-specific details.
This can be great! It gives you the opportunity to travel to a bunch of places you might not have thought to go on your own. Other times it can be problematic. Trying to concentrate in meetings when you’re in the world’s most perfect vacation destination (like Hawaii) can be really difficult. Here are some pointers for staying focused if you find yourself in one of these situations.
1. Assuming you don’t have to leave the Modern Honolulu right away to get back to work, spend an extra day or two in vacation-ville after your meetings are over. Make sure you book these days on your own time so that you don’t inadvertently charge your clients for your vacation time. Knowing that you’ve got some free time at the end of your trip to unwind will help you stay on track when you’re dealing with business and professional matters.
2. Try to schedule your meetings either right before or right after lunch. This way you won’t have to get up super early in the morning or worry about being in meetings until late at night. This gives you extra time to prepare for the day in the morning as well as some down time in the evenings to enjoy where you are staying and get some relaxing in.
3. Sit with your back to the window in your meetings. If you can see out the window—even if you’re meeting in an industrialized part of town—there will be clues that you aren’t on your home turf, and it will be easy to get distracted. Facing the office keeps you focused on what is literally right in front of you: the meeting you are having with the clients you’re trying to sign.
4. Schedule some fun and vacation-type activities with your clients. If your clients aren’t local, this will give you a chance to bond over a shared new experience (particularly helpful if you’re at a conference). If the clients do live locally, you’ll give them an excuse to do some of the fun things they probably don’t have time to do because the details of everyday life keep them too busy to do the things that the locals deem “only for tourists.” You can also turn this into a “show me some of your favorite things about living here that tourists don’t ever get to see” outing, which can be really fun.
5. Remind yourself every day why you are where you are. Sometimes a simple repeated “I’m here for work” can work wonders in terms of keeping you focused and on track while you meet with clients and conduct business. It’s basic but incredibly effective when you need to shut out the distractions of meeting somewhere exotic that you’ve always wanted to visit.
These are just five things that you can do to help you maintain your focus when you have to work in a place that you’ve always wanted to go on vacation. Try them out! You’ll be surprised at how much they help you stay sharp.
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics.