We’re all trying to find a few more hours in the day, right? I know I am.
I keep scrabbling around, hoping to find the time management equivalent of a $20 bill in a coat I hadn’t worn since last spring.
Actually, I’d settle for some spare change.
And I think I’ve found it. It’s transit time.
Tell me – how often do you see a young person, say, someone between 15 and 35, walking down the street who isn’t on the phone?
Although I find it kind of weird when I see two young people walking together, both on their phones and not talking to each other, I still enjoy observing this phenomenon. I figure if I had a gazillion people to talk to, I’d probably do the same.
But then it occurred to me that there’s an even better way to use transit time. It doesn’t require a comprehensive cell phone plan, but you do have to use some cells – your brain cells.
That’s right, I’ve set myself on a program of thinking during my transit times.
But maybe I should define my terms before I go any further. By transit time, I mean the time you spend getting from here to there when you don’t have to be paying attention, like if you’re taking public transportation, walking or waiting for something to happen. If you’re flying some place, you’ve got tons of transit time, from waiting for security screening to waiting for your bags, and everything in between.
But if you’re driving, you should already have your hands full, and hopefully not because you’re texting.
In these moments, you can daydream, listen to music, space out or call someone. Or, if you’re trying to find more hours in the day, you can use this time, and I think tackling tough questions is a great thing to do.
That’s because your options for distraction and avoidance are greatly reduced. If you’re sitting on the subway, or waiting for your flight to board, you aren’t going any place else. Let the confinement boost your concentration.
Frequently, before I set off on long walks, bus rides or flights, I pose myself a series of questions. I also carry paper and pen because I’m a complete dork and like messy notes, but perhaps you might find a way of keeping track of your thoughts that’s more effective for you.
And you’ll also want to pose your own kinds of questions. For example, if you’re in a career transition right now, you can use your transit time to really dig into the questions which will help you focus your efforts. Use the time to ask yourself what you really want to do, what your goals are and more.
Don’t let yourself off the hook. Keep thinking as you walk or ride along, or wait through another hour-long flight delay.
What you learn about yourself as you get from here to there could help you find your way to where you really want to go.
by Danielle Dresden