Thursday, May 14, 2009

Be a Road Warrior - Say "No" to Jet Lag!

I love to travel and used to do it a lot more for my job before I got married. Now, with all those trips under my belt, I learned how to adjust to time zones quickly to enjoy my vacation or if I'm on a business trip, stay focused on work. I've had my share of jet lag. I distinctly remember sleeping in a conference room in Mexico City for 20 minutes because I couldn't keep my eyes open!

This picture from 2002 from a business trip in Tokyo, in Shibuya, with my coworker. Working at McAfee, I went on a 5 country road trip to Asia in 2 weeks launching our new products! I went to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, and Sydney. I didn't realized how spread out the region is until I had to fly all those legs. We visited each new office training sales reps, partners, and hosting customers. There was no time to have jet lag!

We've all had jet lag before! It's when you can't sleep, can't stay awake, and most likely have a headache. Your body is out of sync!

This week, I'm away at a software tradeshow in Los Angeles. I'm going to work on the booth, talk to customers, soak in the industry news, and in the off hours work on my product launch. It's going to be a crazy week. So time of jet lag! When you're traveling, that's the time to seize the moment. Staying awake and energetic is so important, but it can be hard, especially when your body clock is disrupted!

Here are tips that have worked for me when I travel to minimize the effects of jet lag.

  • Fake the new time zone - when you arrive, live in that time. If it's morning, stay awake, evening go to sleep. It starts with the plane ride. If you arrive in the morning, you need to sleep on your flight so you can stay awake all day (see last tip). I bring Tyelonol PM with me to help me fall asleep on overnight flights.

  • Hydrate - drink water before, throughout, and after your flight and try to avoid alcohol or caffeine, which dehydrate you. I often wait to buy a coffee until I land for my morning flights.

  • Healthy snacks on flight - eat light and at the right meal time as your trip. You don't need a lot of energy to sit on a plane for hours anyway.

  • Sleep well before your trip - getting a full night's sleep the night before your trip, helps because you're not working with a sleep deficit.

  • Stock up on the goodies - sleep mask, ear plugs, inflatable pillow are great for overnight flights to help you sleep on the flight or in your hotel at night. For women, I like to bring my pashmina scarf to keep warm on the flights so I don't have to use the airline provided blankets. Airlines are cutting back on that anyway, so it's good to have your own.

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