I was in Chicago for work. I love the city. I went to law school here and have friends that live in all the fun neighborhoods. With no plans for the evening and a business expense account at my fingertips, I sashayed out the front door of my hotel near Michigan Avenue. I turned the corner, walked a block straight into Chipotle, and ordered a burrito to go. I returned to the tiniest hotel room I have ever stayed in. At least it had a door on the bathroom unlike the prior “winner” of that designation in Hong Kong.
I spent the entire evening in with my laptop open, and I loved it. Before I hear gasps of “But there are some of the best restaurants in the nation within minutes!” There are a few aspects you should know: I live only three hours away, I plan to be in Chicago a lot more for business over the next year, and I had a very long to-do list for work. Plus, when you own the business, the allure of a business expense account suddenly becomes somehow less.
I had to make a decision: Was the time spent enjoying the city going to bring me enough joy to override the stress of my to-do list only getting longer? The answer was no, it wasn’t.
By taking the uninterrupted, focused time to click off actions that needed to be done, I was able to enjoy the lunch and drink dates I had scheduled more fully. And I was able to meet my clients’ expectations and my standards for work turnaround.
Do I recommend eating chain restaurant food in every hotel room? Of course not! One of my favorite things is exploring new places. But sometimes, in order to enjoy your time, you have to bring a burrito to your desk and be glad no one saw you spill salsa on your shirt.
Originally published at medium.com