Do you capitalize on your idle travel time?
Or do you waste time staring at Facebook like the next post in your news feed is going to reveal the meaning of life?
Most people do the latter. But whenever I see someone making use of idle time, I know that they’re successful in whatever they do. Putting your down time to use is big indicator of both having a purpose and overall success in life.
If you want to maximize your life, you need to learn how to make use of idle time. Traveling can be a tremendous opportunity for this.
Here’s a good example. Deepak Chopra said (in this conversation) that he wrote his classic book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” on a long flight. The possibilities are endless if you view travel time as an opportunity instead of a burden. It’s all about perspective.
The biggest chunk of travel time in most people’s lives is commuting to and from work. So it would only make sense to optimize such a large portion of your life.
Do you drive to work? You can listen to podcasts or audiobooks.
Do you take the train or bus? You can read too. Or write. Or actually do anything you want, because someone else is doing the driving for you.
Do you stand on a crowded subway? You can listen to podcasts and audiobooks there as well.
Here’s a little real life math:
My dad (like many professionals in the NYC area) spends an average of 3 hours per day commuting to and from New York City. And he’s done this for the last 28 years or so. Let’s do the math…
3 hours per day X 5 days per week X 49 weeks per year (I’ll give him 3 weeks of vacation) X 28 years.
That amounts to approximately 20,580 hours!
That’s more than twice the time of the 10,000 hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell proposes (in his book Outliers) in order to master something.
So that means if you make use of a similar commuting time over a 28 year period, you can easily become world-class at 2 things. And that’s only during your commute! Think about that!
The same way of thinking applies to any form of travel. Make use of your flight times, bus rides or even road trips. (Especially if you’re alone. If you’re with others, this can also be a great opportunity to get to know someone better.)
The sad thing is that most people don’t have that deep, clear sense of purpose to achieve these kinds of things. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t.
How to Optimize Your Travel Time Towards Your Goals
1. Find a purpose. Decide what you want. Do you want to develop a certain skill? Do you want to gain knowledge on a specific subject? Do you want to write a book? Do you want to start a company? Figure out the direction you want to head in.
2. Pick your means of doing it, taking into account your means of travel.
3. Do it. Take action on a daily basis. Even if it’s just small chunks, it will compound profoundly over time.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
A note for the overachievers: Find a balance. There’s a fine line between optimizing your idle time and burning yourself out. Intermittently give yourself some time to rest and do nothing. This balance will be highly dependent from person to person.
I’m not telling you exactly what to do and what not to do. Find a purpose and consistently work toward it. That’s how dreams are brought to fruition.
Enjoy the journey.
– Stevie P
PS – I wrote this on a bus from Dubrovnik to Split, Croatia.