For many entrepreneurs, life is much busier than working at a traditional job.
Longer hours. Wearing different hats. Learning new skills. Doing more paperwork and bookkeeping.
And for some, it means travel. Lots of travel. All over the country – or the world.
For these road warriors, it means countless hours spent at airports and on airline flights. This lifestyle can bring with it a very unwelcome companion: jet lag. And with all of the other obstacles that entrepreneurs must deal with, they don't need the challenge of feeling less than 100% when visiting other offices or pitching their ideas on the road.
Here are some tips for avoiding jet lag during business travel.
Hydrate. Drink as much water or sports drinks as you can before and during your flights. Because flying dehydrates you, this is the easiest way to maintain your body's defenses against jet lag.
Eat smartly. Try to eat just enough so that you aren't hungry. The emptier your stomach is, the less likely you'll have to deal with jet lag. But don't overeat - that could make you sluggish. Avoid heavy foods or empty calorie snacks that airlines serve.
Abstain. Don't drink any alcohol while flying, and avoid booze the night before a business flight as well. Your body will struggle if it tries to fight off jet lag and process alcohol at the same time.
Schedule your flights strategically. When your schedule permits, take late-day flights which allow you to go to sleep shortly after you arrive. If you're flying overseas, avoid overnight flights; your body will experience conflicting signals if it thinks it's time to sleep but your senses say that it's morning.
Plan a nap. Do your best to take a short nap right after you reach your destination. This "quick reset" of your body will help keep you alert.
When in Rome, sleep when the Romans do. Make an extra effort to retire only when it is bedtime wherever you are. The quicker you can adjust your body clock, the less you will be bothered by jet lag.
Meditate. Employing meditation techniques, listening to hypnosis or relaxation tapes, or engaging in breathing exercises before you fly can help calm your body and mind. This in turn helps strengthen your body's barrier against jet lag.
Slip into "vacation mode" if you can. A stroll around town, a night off to see the sights, or even a short "fun break" can do wonders for your psyche. When you embrace where you are, you avoid the doldrums that can cause or facilitate jet lag.
Train your circadian rhythm. For big business trips, start adjusting your body clock at least three days ahead of time. If you're flying east, go to sleep and wake up an hour earlier each day until you get on the sleeping schedule of your destination. For western travel, retire and rise an hour later each day and wear sunglasses in the mornings to help regulate light exposure.
Business travel may not be avoidable for entrepreneurs, but it can be managed in a way to reduce or eliminate jet lag. And before you know it, you will have racked up enough frequent flyer miles for a vacation where you can truly relax and rejuvenate!