Five ways to make business travel easier

If you are a classic Corporate America road warrior, you know the drill. Get up well before dawn. The wheels go up as dawn breaks, and once you land, you face a 12-hour workday followed by a client dinner that goes on forever. It’s a miserable existence, and anything that makes it easier is gold. I used to live this grind – 40 to 45 weeks a year away from home – and I picked up a few tricks along the way.

1. Don’t sleep (too much): I cut down my sleep time on planes because I realized how much personal time it cost me. If you have two legs on your trip (i.e., a layover somewhere), only sleep on one of them. On the other, read, watch a movie … somehow make that time yours.

2. Take care of your body: make some time to work out, even if it’s short. If you don’t, you’ll get fat. Seriously. I became awfully tubby with remarkable speed. More important, you just won’t feel as alive … and you need all the vitality you can get. Bodies are made to be used – give yours what it wants.

3. Unpack: it’s too easy to live out of your bag. Psych yourself out by using the drawers. Set up the desk to be used, with your laptop, any books you have and maybe even a framed photo. Your surroundings won’t feel as institutional. And maybe, just for a moment, it will almost seem familiar.

4. Get a portable hobby: start a blog (anonymous is smartest for the Corporate America types). Learn to knit, jog or take up online chess. Do something to engage your mind away from work. You’ll feel like you’re taking home with you on the road.

5. Don’t sweat minutes: it’s tempting to manage every last minute of your free time to get as much as possible … but this is the route to insanity. Don’t rush yourself in the bathroom or get pissed when a waiter takes an extra three minutes to bring your credit card back. Hell, three minutes is only .0003 percent of your week.