stressedwomanYesterday I had to do one of my usual drives up and back to Boston in a day for a meeting. Back in the day I used to pride myself on my ability to do a whirlwind trip, weave in a few personal to dos along the way, and still get home in time to take care of tasks on the homefront. As I get older, I find I need to pace myself differently and get my expectations in line with my ability to get things done without stressing myself out.

But the benefit of traveling in a day is that I tend to compress a lot of thinking about how I can do it better now that my stamina is less and my life more complex. Here’s some of the “resolutions” I’ve come up with for one-day business road trips in 2011.

Plan. Reinstate my “15 minutes the day before” practice of printing out my calendar page and realistically planning prioriities against the time I have.
Prepare. Pull together paperwork, contacts, etc…any information I need to “get things done” on the road.
Prioritize. During my 15 minutes, pick what I can realistically get done and proactively plan how the rest will be accomplished once I’m back so I don’t think about them the entire trip.
Process. Relook at how I organize and manage. For example, I’ve fallen into a terrible habit of sticking receipts in my purse, wallet, coat pockets, etc. I just bought a recyclable zipped pouch from the school fundraiser I can keep in my car or briefcase and keep the receipts in one place.
Print. Directions, background, extra copies….print the night before. For directions, program into the GPS ahead of time or at least have the addresses easily available.

Another “resolution” I have been working on is to make less calls on a day I have to travel. Although I have a hands-free unit, and utilizing those hours to catch up on phone work is tempting, I find I prefer to stay off the phone for my safety and – quite frankly – because I covet the quiet THINKING time being the car allows me. There’s rarely time anymore for me to think without distraction. In 2011, I’m taking back what uninterrupted time I have – in the comfort of my driver’s seat!