How to pretend you’re me on a business trip

  • Print everything out ahead of time — everything even remotely connected with or relevant to the trip — and keep it with you in a manila file folder. (If it’s E3, put the folder in a plastic pouch.) Consult that folder every 45 seconds, just to make sure all the info is there. When you get home, you’ll realize you printed out several sheets of paper that you never needed and you’ll get a good warm feeling when recycling them.
  • Bring the lightest book that you haven’t read yet. Try not to damage it but accept that if you do mess up the cover, it will simply acquire that “well-loved” look and, even if you haven’t finished reading it, when you put it back on the shelf, people will assume you have devoured it cover to cover.
  • Get the window seat. Put your bag under the seat in front of you. Do not get up for any reason during the entire flight. You may, however, mutter under your breath if a child starts crying or the flight staff starts barking on the PA about how your options are all listed in the in-flight magazine but they are going to announce all that stuff anyway, thereby interrupting your iPod listening.
  • Write song lyrics on the plane, because you know it’s the only place you seem to be able to get into that zone.
  • Bring extra copies of Future magazines and leave them behind in the airplane seat pockets. Hello, potential pass-along reader! (Or recycling bin!)
  • At the hotel, buy a bottle of iced tea from the vending machine for $2, pour it into one of those tiny water glasses in the room, and sip it like you’re having whiskey on the rocks after a hard day of a business conference.
  • Avoid having fun. Just focus on the work that needs doing. Plan to write your article while still on the road if you can, so you can end the trip by coming back to the office and handing in the article. You then have the option of also screaming “Boo-ya!” as you submit it, fully formed, the moment you walk in the door.
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