Friday, April 08, 2011

The Old Campaigner

I once had a hellish training schedule. At least two weeks a month I was out of state, teaching in a different city every day. [Of course, those were the days when you could arrive at the airport at the last moment and run onto the plane.] One year, I was in 100 cities. It was interesting work and my client usually put me up in extremely nice hotels.

There was a downside, of course. It was exhausting and yet every morning I had to be peppy and enthusiastic. Shuffling through the day was not acceptable.

This forced me to learn pacing. I designed my schedule to allow for maximum sack time. When I wasn't "on stage," anything that was an unnecessary drain of time or energy was out. There were some related rules::
  • Stay out of bars. Nothing good will happen to you there and they possess the potential for some very bad things.
  • Always have excellent reading material. If you bring something that is heavy, also have something light. Avoid anything that is depressing.
  • Be on the alert for boredom. Some places, while marvelous for the residents, are stone boring for visitors. Prepare a strategy to cope with that, even if it involves something as simple as calling up those old friends you've been neglecting.
  • Always stay in a place that has room service.
  • Try to get a room with a view.
  • Use the hotel gym. [If it is convenient, use the pool.]
  • Pick up a local newspaper. Get the flavor of the place.
  • Study something. CDs on various topics are great. Pick a subject that will be your class on the road. One suggestion: Focus on one nation and study its history, politics, and geography. When you are done with that one, pick another.
  • Bring a sleep mask. I've recommended this before, but I'll repeat it: Bring your pillow. Some hotel room pillows are almost designed to be uncomfortable.
  • Get all of your planning and phone calls out of the way by nine in the evening. Set a goal of being asleep by ten or by eleven at the absolute latest.
  • Have a routine. It will reduce decision-making and stress.

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