Someone once said, “time is money.” They couldn’t have been more right.
It seems as though there’s no excuse to let things lag when we’re constantly connected by smartphone to the internet, emails and other apps that make it easy to keep up with everything.
Still, with all of this technology at our fingertips, it can still be hard to be productive when you’re outside of the office. That connectedness can have a negative effect on your productivity, after all. But if you know how to focus and get your work done on the go, well, you’re simply owning the 21st century.
Want to know how to do it? Here are six ways to be productive when you’re on the move.
1. Know How Connected You’ll Be
This likely applies most to workers who travel to work via bus, train or other forms of public transit. You might also want to consider your connectivity potential before you get on an airplane, even though most modern jets have wi-fi on-board.
If you know your commute has a shoddy signal, don’t spend the entire time trying to download your emails, for example. Plan your productivity around how much you’ll be connected to the web. Perhaps you can read over meeting notes on paper or flip through your agenda to remember what’s coming up that day. Choose an activity that doesn’t require the internet if you know you won’t have access.
2. Focus on One Thing at a Time
If you’re going to get stuff done on the go, then you can’t let your attention flit from one window to another, touching on a handful of tasks without completing one.
Instead, focus on one thing until you’ve finished it, then move on to the next. Your brain will work way too hard if you do one task, almost finish it, then switch to something else. This is called interrupted task switching, and it makes your life a straight-up misery. That’s because you’ll have to take time to get reacquainted with what’s at hand, remember how much progress you’ve made, etc.
So, start on something and finish it, whether on your commute or in the office. Then, onto something else.
3. Schedule a Conference Call
There are all different types of conference calls. Some require you to look over memos or figures. But if you just need to chat and check in with team members, well, who’s to say you can’t do that on the go?
Your morning or evening commute is the perfect place to schedule in a conference call, especially if you drive to the office. Simply use a hands-free device to get on the line and conduct your entire conversation before you’re even at the office. Voila, you’ve just spent your hour pre-work getting something done so you can focus on everything else once you arrive.
4. Prep for the Background Noise
You won’t be shocked to hear — pun not intended — that commuter buses and trains aren’t quiet places. Between screeching tires, the rumble of conversation and the announcements from drivers and conductors, well … you would have to be a very focused individual to persevere and be productive during all that.
That’s why, normal, easily distracted people, you must bring along a pair of headphones so you can work on the go. If you have high-quality, noise-cancelling ones, pop those on or in, and work in the silence. You might want to turn on some non-distracting tunes if your headphones aren’t as noise-cancelling, though. Again, this is a trick you can use in the office, too, once you arrive, if your co-workers’ chattiness is getting in the way of you owning your day’s work.
5. Find the Places You Work Best
Okay, so not everyone is going to be great at working while in a moving vehicle. That’s fine. But for some business commuters — we’re talking airport people — there are more options than blazing through emails on a crowded train.
Instead, you can find the quietest coffee shop in the terminal or stake out a seat at your gate early and power away at your computer until the plane arrives. In fact, you might just find those few minutes before your flight takes off are the most productive of the day. You’re trying to wrap up before boarding — you know, since it’s so hard to put down and pick tasks back up later on — so you power through and get it done just in the nick of time.
6. Don’t Forget Your Devices — or Accessories
Are you the person whose smartphone battery dies every two hours? If so, this isn’t a reliable device for your productive travel time. Bring along your battery-conscious tablet, for example, or make sure you have an on-the-go charger or charging cable so you can use the devices you need during both your morning and evening treks.
The same goes for airports. What if you have a delay and need to plug your computer into the wall for a bit of extra juice? Keep those cables with you rather than stowing them into checked luggage so you can give your device the jolt it needs, whenever it needs it. The same goes for your phone, tablet, etc. Keep your chargers close, and your productivity will be closer.
How do you plan to make sure your travel time is no longer wasted? Let me know how the above tips worked — or add some of your own below.