Can You Maintain Life Balance When Traveling for Work?

work life balance business travelIs work-life balance possible when you travel frequently for work?  It’s a question I’ve struggled with over the last three years, and am especially mindful of right now while I’m on the road.

I’ve mentioned before that I travel quite a bit for work.  Some times of the year are busier than others, and June and July are my busiest travel months.

In fact, I started writing this post from the San Diego International Airport last Thursday night, while waiting for my red-eye flight home.  I’d been there 3 days.  Then I enjoyed two wonderful, but short, days at home with my family – we went to the beach both days.

On Sunday I drove 13 hours to Roanoke, Virginia where I’m finishing this post before I hit the road to my next destination.

During these busy travel times, when my days are filled with a lot of driving and meetings, I often find it difficult to maintain my regular routines and keep up on some things that are important to me:

  1. Growing my spiritual life and relationship with God.  Busyness crowds this one out faster than anyone would like to admit.
  2. Growing my relationships with my wife and five kids. Obviously, when I’m away from home, I’m not spending time with them.
  3. Taking care of my personal health. I find it easy to fall into bad habits of eating fast food that’s not healthy, and not finding time to exercise.
  4. Keeping up with office work.  Yes, even though travel is a part of my job, it takes me away from other work that needs to be done back in the office.
  5. Keeping up on personal interests and pursuits. When I’m on the go so much, I don’t have the energy to keep up on other things that are important to me, like writing, reading, working on my rental house, and other personal projects at home.

Work-life balance can be a challenge for anyone at anytime, but the problem seems to be magnified, at least for me, when I’m on the road.  What about you?

Four Ways to Maintain Life Balance While Traveling for Work

So what are some possible solutions to maintaining balance while traveling for work?  Here are a few that I’ve come up with:

1.  Develop new routines.  Since my usual schedule and routines are mixed up because of travel, I can develop some new routines that will help me keep up on the important things I don’t want to miss.  I like to read the Bible at the start of my day, but when I’m on the road, I often have early meetings to attend.  So, if I can’t read the Bible in the morning, I can make sure I read it before going to bed, or some other time during the day.  I’ve discovered that I can also get an audio version of the Bible, which I can listen to while driving. Which leads me to my next point…

2.  Combine goals together.  I’ve discovered that I can go farther, faster, when I can “kill two birds with one stone” and work on multiple goals at the same time.  For example, each day I’m on the road, I can stop somewhere and take a hike, either on a trail or in an area I’d like to explore.  I can achieve my goal of getting exercise, and I can also use that time to pray and focus on God, which helps to grow my spiritual life.  Or, I can call home and connect with my wife and kids. Or make business calls.

3.  Make healthy choices.  I’ve discovered some great meal choices at Subway, Golden Corral, and Chipotle (and other Fresh-Mex restaurants) where I can eat low-fat, low-cal whole foods for every meal of the day.  And I’ve decided that I must get exercise everyday when I’m traveling – whether I use the exercise room at the hotel, swim in the hotel pool, or hike/jog a trail.

4.  Outsource.  I need to think about smarter ways of working and identify things I can delegate or outsource to others.  And I need to also do this in my personal life.  Sometimes this means hiring people to do things I’d normally do (which will cost me money but give me more time and energy).  Other times it might mean creative ways of trading or bartering with family and friends.

Is maintaing work-life balance a challenge for you too, when traveling?  If so, what tips have helped you?  What else should I add to my list?

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  1. I started a job as a applications engineer and it’s hard because ive been traveling. I’m confuse if I this is for me or not…pay is good, benefit and work is not that hard but I sacrifice a lot. My voluntary work @ church, time with my family and eating fast food!

  2. i dream to work and travel. I would like to have a job that enables me to travel a lot. dreams come true so maybe Mine too. Bon chance 🙂

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