By Anton Constantinou
Growing up is something all of us have to come to terms with at some point in our lives. While becoming an adult doesn’t necessarily mean kissing goodbye to a carefree existence, there’s a certain level of responsibility which comes with the territory. “Settling down” roughly translates as getting married, buying a home and having children.
Landing a stable job is also important, and that may very well require work overseas. Today’s hyperconnected world places great importance on business travel as a means of networking and building relationships. That could entail anything from attending a conference in Berlin, to relocating to Singapore on a temporary contract. Frequent trips to and from foreign countries on business might seem tedious, but there are certain “baby steps” we can take to make things easier.
And by baby steps we mean doing as our children do. There’s a lot to be said for the way kids approach the world: asking for help and trying new experiences come naturally to them; for us adults, not so much. Somewhere between arriving at the airport and rushing off to our first meeting, we forget to enjoy ourselves and begin stressing out.
Rather than trying to recapture one’s childhood, what we should be focusing on is adopting a fresh perspective on life. A recent Telegraph article entitled, The 3 travel goals that will boost your child’s brain, threw up the idea of using playtime more effectively to enrich young minds. Their suggestions include getting outside more and spreading out different types of activity across a working week. Turning that concept on its head, we’ve decided to explore what life lessons adults can take from children in their approach to business travel.
Join a local club/society
After-school activities teach children the importance of prioritising and broadening their horizons. From drama club, to Cubs, there’s no end to the skills acquired with a new hobby. Follow their example by signing up to something which challenges you in a different way. Chances are, if you’re away for any extended length of time you may have to learn a foreign language – why not hunt down a school offering lessons.
Spend at least one hour a day exercising
Many serviced apartments offer leisure facilities, so there’s really no excuse why you can’t meet the quota. Make quick wins by walking instead of driving or getting off a stop early on your train home. Every minute counts. Children think nothing of running around a playground, and, sure, their bones might be younger, but there are plenty of people in their fifties and sixties still running marathons.
Incorporate some imaginative play into your routine
Give a kid a Rubik’s Cube or a twisted nail puzzle and they’ll spend hours playing with them, undistracted. Toys like these are just as engaging for adults as they are for children, so don’t think for one second you’ve outgrown them. Some of the games available on your smartphone are equally inspiring. Dots, for example, improves your speed and colour-matching skills by asking you to connect up circles and arrange them into squares and rectangles. Consider yourself a bit of a writer? HaikuJAM invites you to create stories and share them with likeminded people around the world.
Go to bed on-time
Turning-in early is easier said than done, especially when you’re up against a deadline or have been out drinking. Jet lag doesn’t exactly help either. For all the time we spend teaching children the importance of sleep, we could really be doing more to help ourselves. Doze off quicker by reading in bed and avoiding caffeine late at night.
Keep screen time to a minimum
Too much screen time has long been linked to a number of problems including obesity and Attention-Deficit Disorder. Children have limits in place for how much television they consume, so why shouldn’t we? Modern life depends on computers, but there’s no reason why you can’t replace the odd Netflix binge with a good book or a get together with friends.
Notice the little details
Children pick up on the smallest things, from a grain of sand on their shoe to a tiny flower poking through the grass. As adults, we’re guilty of missing what’s right in front of us due to a mixture of overthinking and complacency. However, overlooking life’s subtleties could cost you dearly. Read through your travel itinerary in length, taking care to flag up anything you’re unsure about.
Pretend your back in school for a moment. What do you do when you don’t know the answer to something? Raise your hand, of course. The same applies in business. A simple “why?” goes a long way and may unlock a key point of discussion.