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5 tips to help you work more effectively while travelling

17/07/2019
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Where ever in the world you find hydrocarbon resources you’ll find oil and gas and related engineering companies. And where you find those companies you’ll find engineers! Which can mean a lot of travel for the contractors and permanent staff engaged by these companies. Naturally, some of that travel time can be spent watching movies and listening to music, but what if you want to get some work done? Here are our top 5 tips to help you work more effectively while travelling.
5 tips to help you work more effectively while travelling

1. Plan your work in advance


Working whilst travelling is NEVER the same as a standard working day in the office. The things that are typically close at hand in your office such as files and reference materials are potentially hundreds of miles away whilst you are sat on a plane or train. Equally, if you’re like many workers and fully plugged into the ‘knowledge’ economy, utilising SAAS (software as a service) applications which require a steady internet connection to function properly, you really do need to plan your work in advance.

If you intend to work on a project whilst travelling which requires reference materials, make sure that you’ve got these saved on the hard drive of your laptop (or at least on a USB stick or external hard drive). If you will be using SAAS-based applications, ensure you’ve set it to work in offline mode – or find an alternative that works without an internet connection.  Either that or makes sure you’ve got plenty of data on your mobile phone so that you can use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

It’s also worth trying to complete those parts of your project that don’t lend themselves to travel before you go. For example, if part of your project requires a long period of intense concentration or a quiet environment, it’s best to schedule this in for when you are in the office, rather than trying to do it on a busy, distracting train journey.
Book your travel options wisely so that you can be as productive as possible

2. Book your travel options wisely


You might save some money by booking a ‘stopper’ train, but if it means the journey takes twice as long, means you have to wake up extra early and leaves you feeling super tired then it’s worth splashing the extra cash for a faster train- meaning you’ll be less stressed and more able to work on your project.

Where possible try and book direct flights or train journeys. Despite your best intentions, layovers and exchanges between stations/airports never really result in much work being completed. Knowing that you have a direct flight means that you can really throw yourself into your project and work on it intensely for the duration of your journey – without having to worry about a connecting flight or train.
Minimise distraction while travelling using noise-cancelling headphones

3. Minimise distractions


If you’ve taken the effort to plan your work in advance and book your travel options wisely, you don’t want to find yourself unable to work during your journey because of some loud-mouth yakking away on his mobile phone. In other words, a key way to ensure your journey is as productive as possible is by minimising distractions!

Possibly the best way of reducing distraction is to invest in a good quality pair of noise cancelling headphones. Wear these when you’re trying to work on the plane or train and you’ll find yourself less likely to tune into random conversations happening around you. Over-ear headphones also have the benefit of signalling to others around you that you are trying to focus on your work! The likelihood that you’ll have a fellow passenger trying to start an inane conversation with you diminish considerably once you’ve donned some headphones.
Commit to the work!

4. Commit to the work!

This might sound like an unusual tip, but actually starting a piece of work when you are on a train or plane can be very difficult. After all, there is usually plenty to look at and listen to. But generally, if you can push through the first 10 minutes and engage in deep concentration, then you’ll suddenly find that you’re ‘in the zone’. This theory has a bit of a track record too. When writers such as G.I. Gurdjieff would have some work that he needed to complete he would deliberately go to a noisy café. With all of the noise and hustle and bustle, he would be forced to genuinely concentrate on what he wanted to write down on the page. Rather than being in a quiet environment that made his mind wander, he would instead have to commit to and concentrate upon his ideas.

If you find that you can't get any work done whilst travelling you can still use it as an opportunity to learn

5. If you can’t work, then study!


Sometimes it just isn’t going to happen is it?!? It may be down to something beyond your control, but you may find that there’s no way you’ll be able to work on your project during your journey. All is not lost though! You can still use the time as an opportunity to study and learn so that when you do next get the opportunity to sit down and work you’ll be better prepared. 

Download a series of podcasts, an audio book or perhaps pack the latest issues of your favourite trade journal. Regardless of your preferred method of study, you should still be able to find a way of making your journey-time productive.

A good way to think about this is in terms of input versus output. If you are unable to use your journey time creating ‘output’ then you can still use it for ‘input’, absorbing ideas, knowledge and experiences that will make you a better, more-informed worker.

Do you want a job in which you can put these tips to the test?


Then register with Fircroft today. We recruit technical and engineering professionals to work on major projects internationally. We also mobilise over 2,500 contractors to new locations worldwide each year. Register now and we’ll send you regular email job alerts- apply and put these tips into action!
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