Like most of the world, I commute to work… usually about a half an hour. Unlike most of the world, I will also often find myself in transit as much as 4 hours or even 7 hours to work out of town. Especially after the 7-hour trips, people always stare at me in disbelief that I just drove that long to work. For me, it’s not about mindless travel. It’s not a waste of time because I am actually pushing forward in my tasks or at least dedicating brainpower to planning how those tasks will play themselves out from A to Z.
—> The Golden Rule <—
If staying productive during travel is something that interests you, I have an easy rule that will keep you motivated without distracting you from your number #1 goal (which is safely arriving to your destination). That rule is: Work for 30 Minutes, Rest for 30 Minutes. If you were to be in an office environment from 9-5, you would not be feverishly working for 8 hours straight. You would have natural distractions throughout the day: saying hello to coworkers, using the restroom, responding to emails, going to get lunch, etc… In your travel time, you must inject these moments of rest into your day to keep your brain fresh and ready to work. The Work for 30 minutes, Rest for 30 Minutes rule accomplishes this beautifully.
So… what are some examples of Work vs. Rest? Try these next time you find yourself on the go.
Listen to Podcasts:
Whether you’re driving, flying, riding the bus, or any other form of commuting, you can stream majorly insightful views from experts in your field. These podcast shows usually run between half an hour to an hour, and you can subscribe to your favorite shows on iTunes for automatic downloading to your iPhone, or apps like Podcast Addict for your Android device. After listening to a podcast episode, it never fails that I walk away with at least one new idea of something I can approach differently in my business or my personal life. Here are the programs I listen to on a regular basis:
- The Fizzle Show (For Entrepreneurs and StartUp Businesses)
- SOSstudio Sessions (Business and Motivational Conversations for Independent Artists)
- Real IronDAD Radio (Health and Wellness for the Busy Parent)
- Online Marketing Made Easy (Expert Advice on All Social Media, especially Facebook)
Make Phone Calls:
Now is the perfect time to tackle those work calls that have been stacking up like calling potential new clients or your getting your collaborators on the schedule for a rehearsal. And even if you don’t have work calls, Everyone’s got “those” phone calls they’ve been putting off… the belated birthday call, the call to reschedule your appointment, the call to pay a bill… The trick here is to mark them off your list so you don’t have to store them in your memory anymore. You’ve got 7 hours of car time. Get Crackin!
Write A Song / Brainstorm Lyrics
You don’t need an instrument in front of you to write a song. A quiet car ride is perfect place to let your mind relax and allow the melodies to flow in. Plus, if no one else is there (or if they don’t mind listening to you for hours on end), you can belt out any tunes you want as many times as you want. The writing muscle is one that needs to be flexed in order to stay healthy. So don’t let it go sedentary the whole time you’re traveling. Let an idea flow in, finish it, memorize it (or document it on an audio recorder), and move on to the next idea.
Listen to the Radio
Find a music or talk radio station that allows you to LET GO. If the music or conversation sends you back into work mode, it’s not doing its job. If, instead, you’re singing at the top of your lungs or captivated by an incredible story, then your brain has separated from your work and will be stronger when you return.
Listen to Podcasts
I mentioned business/motivational podcasts above but would you like some rest time for your brain? There are also plenty of comedy podcasts to let you have a little alone time. Top of my list: SuperEgo (A Brilliantly Improvised Sketch Comedy Show).
An Extended Lunch
Don’t hit up the drive thru. Find a nice place to sit down, eat a meal, make small talk, and have a couple refills before you get back in the car. Your body will thank you for the nutrition and your brain will thank you for the change of pace.
Take a Walk
You’ll be surprised how many ideas may come to you while taking a walk after working for a chunk of time. But don’t expect them to come. The trick is to let your brain get so rested and focused on things outside of itself that you’ll naturally gather inspiration and create new ideas without trying to. Try walking around a mall, rest area, or airline terminal. You’ll get your blood flowing and mind going.
Dear Reader: What are other ways you make the most of your travel time? How do you like to mark stuff off your list even when you can’t be in your work environment?