June 30, 2013

Travel Tips

Here are my top tips to keep your Joie du Travail mindset while jet-setting around the world:

Pack Snacks. Pre-washed, pre-cut, finger-friendly food. Berries, grapes, carrot sticks, hummus and pitas, granola bites, nuts, cheese cubes, apple slices, whatever*. Throw them in a tupperware with a napkin and you're ready to go. You'll be so happy to munch away on good food while the masses around you suffer through Sbarro or Mandarin Express. *Exception: bananas... they do not travel well and nobody wants to dive into a brown one.

Download the App. Say goodbye to standing in line at customer service. I cannot tell you how many times the Fly Delta app has saved me in a pinch. You can use it to upgrade your seat, find and book other flights when yours is delayed, search old itineraries, book a last-minute hotel, you name it. In addition to Delta, I highly recommend Kayak, Southwest, Hilton Honors, TripAdvisor and XE Currency apps.

Do Yourself a Solid. Solid shampoos, conditioners and detergents save space and sanity when traveling through security with a carry-on. For travel-friendly, non-liquid body care products, I recommend Lush and I cannot live without Wash and Stain bars from The Laundress. You'll never come back to a hotel room that smells like your morning workout clothes again!  Speaking of which...

You Really Should Work Out. Hotel gyms ain't what they used to be. In fact, I am constantly amazed at how nice some are compared to the gym I actually pay for at home. There is nothing worse than sitting in meetings all day, eating out for most meals and returning back to the hotel late at night feeling like a tired old slug. Even 20 or 30 minutes in the morning will give you energy and a positive outlook for the rest of the day. Traveling is taxing - so don't expect to set a PR - but putting on your sneakers will break up an otherwise monotonous schedule and leave you feeling positive. Bonus: You'll be glad you packed tennis shoes when stuck in the airport and want to take a concourse walk instead of watching the same CNN loop for hours.

Photograph Receipts. It is hard to keep up with those pesky crumpled slips of paper. Take a quick photo of your receipt with your phone right when you receive it. It takes 30 seconds and can save you so much hassle on the phone with Finance when you get back.

June 25, 2013

Business Travel: A Poem in 12 Lines

Don't take your shoes off, please.
Would you do that in a client meeting?
Don't answer that.

Crushing push toward the gate agent
Who you know cannot help you
Even if he wanted to.

Blue screen of death means something different here.
Reflected in the eyes of weary travelers
Gazing up at delay announcements.

"It's not all bad," you repeat to yourself
How else will you rise to the top?
Don't answer that.

June 24, 2013

First Month Report Card

With one month under my belt at the new gig, it's time for my first self-imposed performance evaluation.  I am considering grades in the following categories: 

Orienting to new office, colleagues and internal politics: B

Communicating with my new boss: B+

Performing well in crucial situations: A

Handling the traffic to/from the office: C*

Making good use of the mega coffee machine in the office kitchen: A

Overall, I feel great about my new position. That's not to say there haven't been bumps in the road as I get used to the new team, issues and practices. A missed conference call here, IT problem there... I think those challenges are to be expected, though, and I'm doing my best to go easy on myself in terms of self-criticism. It can be daunting to completely change your daily schedule and work focus, which is what I've done with this move. Breaking out of routine is hard. Creating a new routine is even harder. However, I cannot advocate making the shift enough: my life is happier, calmer and more satisfying than it has been in years. 

Taking a small step reaps giant rewards.

   *I was so spoiled working from home.

June 9, 2013

Wasting Time at Work

The following hits a little too close to home: "Top Work Related Distractions: Fixing other people's work (54%)."
Guilty as charged.
How Do People Spend Their Time At Work? - Infographic
This awesome graphic came from Tempo: www.tempoplugin.com