At least once or twice a year, I have a week of travel that looks great on a calendar. The kind of week, like the one I just started, where I have 6 different in person meetings across six states in 5 days. The kind of week where on the last leg of the trip you find yourself chanting “never again” over and over like it is a tantric mantra.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
This week I will find myself on six different planes, 4 hotel rooms, 3 rental cars, 2 different trains, countless taxi/Ubers and (fortunately only) 2 time zones. I think I will literally be spending an entire day in some type of mode of transportation this week. Crazy.
So how do you prepare for a marathon week like this one?
First of all, you prepare. Heading into a period of travel like this without making preparations is setting yourself up for disaster. And I mean going past planning on what you are going to wear and what weather to pack for. You need to prepare yourself, your family and your coworkers for the craziness of weeks like this one. How you ask?
This is a big one for me. I have a very bad habit of not communicating to my wife early and often about upcoming weeks like this one. After over a decade on the road, she pretty much assumes that I am going to be traveling each and every week but weeks like this are the exception. Of course this is also the week my eldest son decides to throw a relational grenade in the middle of the living room. Oh, and wrestling season is starting with two different evening events. And my youngest son has an orchestra commitment. And, and, and……. While there is never a good week for this type of trip, this is a particularly bad one. Of course, I waited to communicate the schedule this week so it caused grief for all involved.
You also need to communicate with your coworkers. Normally I am very flexible with how and when I will take phone calls and do webinars. Did you catch the fact that I will be on a plane/train for nearly 24 hours this week? Pretty hard to conduct a webinar from 38k feet. Communicating this early and often with your teammates will only benefit all of you.
One of my wife’s love languages is Acts of Service. I have written about it before (read it here) but I spend my Sunday’s planning but this Sunday was even more intensive than most. I always plan the menu for the week and shop for the groceries but this week I also prepped all of the meals. I made sure the laundry was done and put away. The garage was cleaned out so the car could park in it. Why? So when her day gets a head of steam, or a hail storm rolls through, she is not letting the dinner storm or the literal storm derail the family. The more I can make sure is ready to go (Monday’s dinner, Wrestling Singlet cleaned and ready to go, PE Clothes cleaned, lunch accounts having full balances) – the better the week will go.
Does that mean I get to sit on the couch and watch football all Sunday? Nope.
But I can tell you that when I leave and our refrigerator looks like it did this morning (above) than there is zero complaining about the games being on all Sunday when I am in the kitchen making this happen. It also makes reentry on Friday night, way better.
Yes, I schedule my flights and meetings but I also have to schedule my workouts and meals on weeks like this. I do not want to find myself at the airport looking to board a late flight having not worked out and not eaten. It is a recipe for late night fast food and running to the gift shop for Tums. Not good.
It also means thinking ahead to the schedule of the week for those around you. How can I make the upcoming week easier to deal with? Are the clothes ready for any special events? Are there days where you know if you are going to get a Facetime conversation with the kids in that it has to be in the morning? Can you reposition anything scheduled for the upcoming week into another time slot to make everyone’s week go a bit smoother?
Now that I think about it, prepping for weeks like this all boils down to putting others first. When we as RoadWarriors are on the road – it is an inherently selfish time. We can’t deal with the trials, tribulations, arguments and meltdowns that are happening at home. The best we can do is help to avoid them in the first place. So wish me luck this week and maybe I will see you in one of the 6 airports I get to visit this week.