All ideas, recipes, & opinions are entirely my own however, this is a sponsored post on behalf of Michael Angelo’s™.
I’ve probably mentioned our daughter Kennedy’s soccer once or twice before, but it really is a huge part of our lives. She plays travel soccer over the border in the US (we’re just on the Canadian side of the border) and there are certain parts of the year where it feels like we mostly live in hotels. It can definitely throw our everyday schedules off to say the least, but since I’m self-employed and need to keep my blogging up and keep my fingers click-clacking on that keyboard as often as possible, it can really be a big issue if I don’t find time to work while we’re away. It sounds like it’s going to be easy, because hey, laptops are portable 🙂 but it’s really not!
Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips for having lots of fun while we’re away on vacation/at soccer tournaments and getting stuff done in case you’re thinking about trying to get some work done on the road as well! And that “work” could be anything really, whether you have a blog to maintain, need to keep up with your emails from the office, or whether you just want to find a few minutes every day to check in with your household binder and make sure that everything is still running smoothly for your family.
Plan it out ahead of time
First of all, it’s best if you can plan your travel right from the start with finding some work time in mind. I find that hotel rooms are really nice, peaceful places to get to work done, but since we usually travel with a few kids, our hotel rooms usually end up pretty loud and crazy. When we look at choosing hotels, we like to see if there are any amenities that will allow one of us to take the kids out for a few hours so the other one can get some work done. A lot of hotels have pools or arcades, which work well, but we find that if we can get a hotel near a park or some nice trails, that works even better. If all else fails, it always works to find a hotel with a coffee shop nearby so that I can go do a bit of work there.
Know your work environment preferences
When you work from home, you usually find a work environment and situation that works for you kind of subconsciously. When you need to get down to work quickly though in a foreign place, it helps to be able to recreate your perfect work environment quickly so you can get right down to business. It’s possible that you never realized before how much you hate complete silence when you’re working or how you’re used to having a certain snack nearby. Little things like that can throw your whole work-game off and leave you wondering what’s so different about this hotel room that you suddenly can’t get anything done. Being aware of your own personal preferences and being able to get yourself set up properly really makes a big difference. For the record, I need complete silence and then I’m good to go. 🙂
Stick to normal bedtimes and routines when possible
Of course, we try to find a little bit of extra work time by getting the kids out of the hotel room, but it’s good to try to get in your regular everyday work time too as much as possible. Consistency is especially important with blogging so I try to at least have my evenings on the road have similar timing to my evenings at home. We eat dinner at the same time and keep bedtimes as close to normal as possible so that I can sit down in the evenings and do my regular night time pinning and writing. That way, when we get home, I don’t feel like I’m completely behind and I can go about the rest of the vacation without worrying about work stuff!
Shop for groceries and eat in your hotel room when possible
Eating meals in restaurants is so much fun when it’s a once-in-a-while thing but when it’s every meal every day for days on end, it can get pretty tiring. It’s also really time-consuming to research places to eat, go there, sit down, wait, eat, wait some more, and then travel back “home” to your hotel room or to your next activity. Eating and eating-related activities can take up a big part of the day! We learned pretty early on that having a few meals right in the hotel room is quicker and actually often a lot more relaxing. It’s nice to just sit in your “own” space and relax with your family instead of always fighting the noise and crowds of restaurants. We always make time to get to a grocery store right before or right after we check in to our hotel and load up on a few snacks as well as some easy options for breakfasts and dinners.
Of course we make sure to book hotel rooms with mini fridges and microwaves! 🙂 Mini fridges in hotels almost always have a little mini freezer in the top that perfectly fits a few Michael Angelo’s™ meals. After a long day of being out and about, it’s nice to come back “home” and have something you can just heat up and enjoy right away for a quick dinner. When you eat like this, you save time, money, and also a lot of energy that you can put into getting a bit of work done afterwards!
Try to be just a little bit healthier
The other thing about eating restaurant food constantly is that it’s not always the best for you. The portions are usually too big and can leave you feeling pretty overstuffed and unhappy if you eat like that too many times. We also try to stay on the healthier side of things by picking up fresh fruits and veggies for our snacks instead of always going for the candy aisle. I really like these Michael Angelo’s™ Italian Meals that you can get in the freezer section because they have lots of fresh, real ingredients that are cooked in small batches and they actually taste fresh too! I like that they’re as simple, honest, and pure as making your food from scratch with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. They’re a great option for a quick, healthier meal that’s easy to pick up at many grocery stores we find near our hotel. When you feel like you’re eating good food and you aren’t over-stuffed, it’s a lot easier to focus and spend a few minutes blogging or working with a clear head. It makes a difference! Although, for the record, my Michael Angelo’s™ Shrimp Scampi meal was still probably a little bit too big for me to eat all at once! But I did eat it all and it was delicious. 🙂
Have reasonable expectations for what you’ll get done
If you’re anything like me, then your to-do lists may tend to get a little over-sized once you start thinking about all the things that you want to accomplish. My rule of thumb is to stick to a simple list of no more than three items at a time and this keeps me from going on and on with my lists. It also keeps me from feeling like I’ve gotten nothing done by the time everyone arrives back from their little outing. When you’re in a strange environment, you’re bound to be at least a little slower than you usually are, so be very reasonable with your expectations. The key here is to remember that getting something done is so much better than nothing. If you can stick to just giving yourself three little tasks to accomplish at a time, and maximize your time and energy by not sitting in restaurants for hours on end every day, you’ll be doing just fine!
Do you ever try to get work done while you’re traveling? What are your tricks to make it all go smoothly?
Connect with Michael Angelo’s™ on Facebook to learn more about the clean, fresh ingredients in their Italian Food!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Michael Angelo’s. The opinions and text are all mine.
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.