I’ve been home a lot lately due to work on my startup and the upcoming move. It’s led me to a couple of larger realizations that I’m enjoying digging in to.
The first, and largest, is that I’m incredibly more productive when I have travel as a regular part of my life. For some reason, being on an airplane, in the airport, a hotel, or a bus seems to be the ideal place for me to focus on work.
The second, is that I find myself able to have great higher-level thoughts while traveling. I’m able to take a step back, do some major project planning, or make major life decisions with a clarity I don’t normally have in my daily life. I don’t profess to be a road warrior or an epic traveler. However, both have been consistent for me for most of my adult life (aside from a couple of years where I developed a crippling fear of flying, but that’s a tale for another post…).
Let’s dig in to why and how I believe this works.
At the core, is my brain’s disassociation with my current space. I think this alone is responsible for the bulk of why I am able to do this. Likely, I’ve had to train myself to do this over the years — I tended to make myself read and listen to music since high school.
I used to play games, or sleep (I can easily sleep an entire flight), but now I read or create. When I started my longer-term travel about 4 years ago I made the conscious choice to spend time reading on planes and writing my ideas into Evernote. I have several longer notes about the direction I’d like to take my life, the someday/maybe lists of projects, and even deeper pondering of ethics.
When I go back to these, the training related to the space is again key. It’s an actual trigger for me to get into an almost meditative state. It’s like a free pass not to play games or watch TV.
As I delve deeper it leads me to wonder what would happen if I made a similar and intentional effort in some space at home. If I have a chair, or a position on the couch, that is dedicated to reading. So when I’m there, I read. And if I have a coffee shop where I go and only work. Have you tried creating a hard boundary on your space?
While the travel is often necessary for work, I’ve never had a good or productive time at home. I don’t keep a computer in the bedroom and until my recent relationship haven’t had a TV there either since high school. I know that when I am oriented towards a screen, I will likely use it.
I’ll spend some time testing this theory out over the next couple of months and report back. As I moved last week I have the chance for a fresh start for new space. This gives me the ability to intentionally create locations for specific tasks.
Let me know if you have the same things happen while traveling, either related to being able to focus, or if you’re able to set locations to work this way while on the road. I’d love any tips or tricks for turning off distractions. the way it is forced during travel!