How to keep it together while traveling for work.
Anyone who works in International Education can tell you that the demands of the job can be rigorous. In a recent blog series, we explore this topic in relation to aging parents.
But today, we are talking about the demands of the job in a much more physical sense… traveling. People to see, places to be, trains to take, planes to catch. You get the idea.
When it comes to travel for international educators, there are numerous factors to consider. From leaving their families for extended periods of time to keeping all of the balls up in the air for professional responsibilities both at home and abroad, it can be a lot. Not to mention navigating the packing, physical transportation demands, time zone shifts, and cultural changes. Through all of this, the mind and body can take a beating.
With all of these pressures and stressors, the urge to hit the ground running when the plane touches down can be a strong one. Lots of international educators fall into the ‘productivity trap’ of tackling as much-as-possible, in as short amount of time-as-possible, in order to turn around and get home as quickly-as-possible. Additionally, the pressure to be budget conscience and keep the trip to as few nights as needed can compound this productivity impulse. In the long run however, this mindset can be extremely detrimental and result in excessive stress, exhaustion, and sleep deprivation.
When faced with the challenges of this travel-based industry, it is important for international educators to create space for self-care and healthy balance. Life is a series of choices and trade-offs, and prioritizing overall well-being now will mean more demands can be met later - avoiding burnout or physical breakdowns such as injuries and illness. As well, today’s modern world luckily offers lots of support and portable comforts for easing these demands.
Getting good with technology can really be of benefit to educators abroad. For communication with loved ones, there are numerous apps available to help alleviate physical distances. WhatsApp is a platform that offers free international messaging, and platforms such as Google Duo, Skype, or FaceTime offer free video chats. SnapChat can be another great option for sharing special experiences and moments without having to coordinate time zones to be on a call.
For getting work done while also meeting the demands of a travel schedule, we suggest tapping into some of the wonderful productivity apps and programs that can help. There is a whole slew readily available to help you set schedules, keep track of project developments, and stay in communication with work teams back home. Here is an article about the best productivity apps for 2020.
Lastly, prioritizing physical health should be a main consideration. Allowing yourself a half day or a day to adjust, acclimate, and take care of yours needs can mean the difference in feeling drained the rest of the trip or feeling ready and reliable. Talk with your manager on budgets before you leave and see if you can add a night at the hotel to accommodate this necessary time for self-care in your schedule. This might also mean skipping a trip to see the historical cathedral for a trip to the gym, or a healthy dinner and an early bed-time instead of that meal out. Just like at home, plenty of sleep and lots water will help keep you going and right on track.
For international educators the demands can be many and tough. But, with proper consideration and preparation we believe you can be your best wherever in the world you may find yourself. Safe travels!The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.