Great founders are always looking for an edge to increase their performance, especially in the face of limited time. As the saying goes, time equals money. I’ll add that sanity equals money, and so does health. And it’s often hardest to maintain your time, health and sanity while traveling.
Having completed at least 40 round-trips in 2015, I’ve traveled across the country for SkyBell, my two-year-old startup that makes a video doorbell you can answer from a smartphone. I constantly travel for funding, business development and strategic development purposes.
Below are several hacks crucial to my success as a founder and my ability to execute SkyBell’s vision of making home security affordable for everyone. These tips keep me healthy, keep me sane and help me maximize the time spent traveling.
Staying healthy is the most important part of traveling: not only does it keep you productive while you travel, it also helps to prevent you from getting sick – which hurts productivity. Here are a few items that work for me that could work just as well for you:
- Eat well. Bring healthy snacks on the plane and pack healthy foods for your hotel room. Options: coconut flakes, raw almonds, protein powder, avocado, dark chocolate and KIND bars.
- Stay hydrated. Flying dehydrates you, which decreases cognition and patience. Both are key for staying productive and sane while you travel. Drink water.
- Exercise. Exercising keeps you healthy and fights jet lag. Hit the hotel gym or ask an Airbnb host for a place to run and do pushups, sit-ups and planks in your room.
- Supplement your diet. Taking extra vitamin C before and during travel helps boost your immune system. Vitamin D in the morning also helps.
- Use the F.lux App for Jetlag. Whenever you fly east, use the F.lux app a few hours before you go to bed. This app removes the blue and white light from your computer screen. This helps your brain recognize that it’s nighttime and starts to produce natural melatonin.
- Create a checklist. Prevent forgetting clothes by creating a checklist for each item, including grooming and food. Then pack items and cross them off the list. You can reuse the same list. If you travel frequently, maintain a second set of grooming essentials that never leaves your carry-on. This has saved me multiple times.
- Make a routine. Do not underestimate the power of routines and habits. They save you time and important brain power. Turn everything into a routine: the amount of time you need to pack; how long before a flight you need to arrive; and what you pack.
- Locate your belongings. Most importantly, make a habit of putting the same items in the same place right away! For example, put your cell phone in the same spot after getting it back from TSA, whether in the same pocket of your pants or in the same pocket of your handbag. It might sound stupid, but it’s helpful.
On the Plane
- Disconnect. My old pattern was to buy Wi-Fi and check email. Now I use this time to unplug and do the things that require my uninterrupted attention, whether it be a proposal, reviewing a contract or defining product specs for our next SkyBell product or service.
- Meditate. Start your flight with a 10-minute meditation. This helps clear your mind and unwind from the stress in making the flight.
- Take time for yourself. Instead of stressing over getting a lot done on the plane, make an assessment of what feels best for that time. Productivity might be your best bet sometimes; other times, feeding your curiosities with a book or watching a documentary might be the best thing for your well-being – and your overall performance.
I never board a plane without a battery pack for my iPhone, a bottle of water, healthy snacks and earplugs. Don’t underestimate the power of earplugs; reducing that constant noise helps you focus while you work and reduces the strain on your brain from processing the noise for many hours. You’ll land with a smile on your face (instead of a headache).
Traveling frequently creates small pockets of wasted time due to boarding and delays. It’s enough time to waste yet not enough to get anything done. Podcasts are the best way to remedy this situation: subscribe to something that educates you or makes you laugh. Some of my go-to podcasts include The Full Ratchet by Nick Moran and The Nerdist, started by Chris Hardwick.
Try these out and see what works best for you. Give them a fair shot too. I never anticipated how much these simple, old school tips could really make my traveling life easier. They can also really save you in a pinch. Good luck out there and safe travels!