Talk about a brutal work commute.
Imagine 70 hours of total travel time, 36 of them in the air, twelve time zones crossed (including the international date line), and all for less than eight hours of official work.
Even if that work is playing a game, it is not easy being the World Champion Boston Red Sox, or their opponent the Oakland A’s, this week. That's because the two baseball teams traveled to Japan to play a rare overseas season opening series, March 25 and 26.
While the Red Sox commute is enough to make experienced road warriors cringe, according to travel experts and professional organizers there are a number of practical ways to make even the most arduous trek to work time well spent.
The first step to getting more out of extended travel time is learning to change your mindset. “People say all the time that ‘I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough time,’ well here you go, you’ve got the time,” says Monica Ricci, an Atlanta-based organizing advisor for Office Depot and author of Organize Your Office in No Time. To maximize this time requires a little planning. “I take 10 to 15 minutes before leaving for the airport to make sure I have everything I need,” says Denise Caron-Quinn, founder and president of In Order to Succeed, a professional organizing and time management firm in New York and Connecticut.
This planning time should be spent making sure you have extra batteries for the laptop or PDA (but don’t forget to charge them!) and packing the reading materials you need in your briefcase, or downloading it to your computer. You might also consider making a to-do list of these tasks, Caron-Quinn says. “That’s one thing that I always tell my busy executives,” she says. “I’m a huge proponent of carrying a master list with you, it’s a quick thing that goes a long way.”
The savvy traveler can also make their experience more worker-friendly long before they board their plane. “The most productive place in an airport is the club or first-class lounge, so to whatever extent you get access to it is important,” says Christopher Elliott, a columnist for MSNBC.com who writes about business travel. Even your company didn’t spring for a business or first-class ticket, you can use frequent flier miles or certain credit cards that provide access to the lounges, Elliott says. Or check out www.prioritypass.com, which offers annual memberships providing access to lounges across the globe.
And given that where you sit once you do board can make a big difference to your flying experience, Elliott recommends logging onto Seatguru.com when making your travel plans. The site provides details on specific airline seat configuration, allowing you the chance to nab a spot with that ever-elusive power adaptor or one with more legroom.
Other helpful websites include: flyclear.com, to bypass security lines at some airports; www.flightstats.com for travel advisories and flight tracking; and travelpost.com, for a list of airports with wireless access.
When you finally do board, a long flight provides the perfect opportunity to catch up on your reading or take care of those pesky low-priority tasks you’ve been putting off. Need to get on top of that email backlog or write a half-dozen thank-you notes? No better time than when that seatbelt sign lights up. Remember, emails can be written offline and saved in your outbox. Log in as soon as you land and out they go! Just remember, you don’t need to throw a 90-mph fastball to travel like a pro.
Post Script: The Red Sox won their opening game.