One of the questions I get all of the time from people about to head out on trips is:
How do you deal with the different time changes all of the time?
To be 100% honest, I lost track of the US time zones years ago. My personal strategy is to walk off the plane, check my phone and say – “Okay, that’s the time.” But if that was the answer I left all of you with, this would be a really short (and bad) blog post…..but a really good meme.
The constant questioning from others did make me ask why I don’t have to deal with this anymore. As I reflected, I realized I do have coping mechanisms that have become such a part of my everyday routines that I don’t even think about them anymore. Mechanisms like…..
Schedule to the time zone you are in –
This one is actually the one I have the hardest time with. I travel the country and work with clients from all over the country. It is not uncommon to have meeting requests that start at 8:00 EST when you are staying in the PST. Remember, it may look good on a calendar but avoid this if possible.
Start early –
Especially if you are traveling west to east. Don’t fall into the temptation of sleeping later because you ‘are on West Coast time’. Schedule breakfast or a workout with a coworker/client in the morning. Get your day started off right and make sure breakfast is on the agenda.
Eat and sleep with the locals –
I don’t want to hear “I’m not hungry”, if it is 6:30ish – eat. If you normally are in bed and asleep by 11:00 and you find yourself in NYC but home is LA – go to bed.
Make sure you work out –
Bring your workout plan with you and make sure you get it in. Also, be sure it is at your normal time in the day if you can. If you typically work out in the morning, get up early. Evening person? Make sure to either get it in before dinner or be sure to hit the gym after that client meal. Your rhythm depends on cues like this so make them strategic.
Magnesium is your friend –
This my secret weapon (especially traveling west to east). Magnesium has the chemical ability to help you not only fall asleep faster but also to reset your circadian rhythm. I started taking it daily in the form of ZMA to help with Testosterone levels (jury is out on this one from the scientific community) but I can vouch for its effectiveness as a sleep aid. My wife on the other hand relies on Melatonin to ease her into dreamworld when traveling. Just try and avoid the true pharmaceuticals.
So there you have it folks, the five things I do to make travel work and to adjust to time changes quickly. How about you? What are your strategies?