It takes me around 45 minutes to get to and from work Monday-Friday. It seems like such a waste of time, but I have found a few things that I can do to help me be productive.
- Process & Rest. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet time in the car to process my day, and rest my mind. Just silence. So when I get home I am refreshed and ready to tackle what is waiting for me there.
- Learning: Some days I put on a podcast that will help me learn about a project I am working on. Podcasts can be encouraging, give support, instructions, and give us ideas. Sometimes I pick a podcast on a topic that is completely new to me. It is nice to be challenged and expand my horizons so to speak.
- Voice Memo. I am a morning person, and am full of ideas in the morning. I feel refreshed, and my mind is active. I don’t want to miss ideas that I get in the car, so I have started using voice memo on my phone to record them. It seemed silly at first, but in time I find it a productive tool. Who cares if someone sees me talking into my phone. I am capturing ideas, and they are staring at me.
- Music. I presume most of us listen to music in the car. I chose music that soothes my mood, sets a relaxing tone, or if the mood hits right I play music that helps me work out frustrations. I also have a playlist of music that helps me imagine. When I am able to imagine I am able to come up with new creative ideas.
I work a 9-5 job, have children, a home to take care of, marriage, and a dog. It is difficult to remain creative, and work on projects outside of all my responsibilities. To be able to keep moving forward I use techniques like these, and you can too.
Sherlock Holmes referred to a three pipe problem. That is a problem that he needed to get psychological and physical distance from in order to solve it. Holmes chose an activity that would re-direct his attention, and let his subconscious continue processing the problem. By the time he finished smoking his pipe three times he often had the answer to his problem.
The techniques above give me the opportunity to distance myself from my project, my family, and any problems. They help me re-direct my attention to something else, and in this case, to something in the future. The projects I am working on are for the future. I need time to process them, and come up with solutions, and to do this I use the daily commute in the same way that Holmes used his pipe.
What are some techniques that you can use to help you make good use of your time, or help your mind get some rest? I would love to hear what others are doing. Please comment and let me know. I need all the help I can get.