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Ideas for Making the Most of Time on the Road

In a recent survey of extended-stay business travelers by Residence Inn by Marriott, a division of Marriott International, more than 70 percent of the 1,250 respondents said they felt "productive" or "refreshed" at the office after returning from a long business trip, and more than 53 percent said they felt "refreshed" at home, too. Almost all respondents said they enjoyed having a little time to themselves while traveling—but they felt guilty about it. They shouldn't feel that way, though, says Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. An extended business trip is "a rare opportunity to regain perspective and be more effective," he says.

At Marriott's request, Covey came up with ways for business travelers to enjoy their personal time while on extended trips. Among his suggestions:

• Take a book you've wanted to read.
• Be a tourist: Take a carriage ride through an old downtown, sample local foods, buy a disposable camera and take photos, buy a souvenir for yourself.
• Start a personal journal.
• Sketch plans for forthcoming special occasions such as anniversaries, family reunions, and New Year's Eve.

"When you are away from the normal home and office world for more than just a few days," Covey advises, "make the most of your unplanned 'escape' time."

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