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10 Tips for Staying Productive on Car Trips

10 Tips for Staying Productive on Car Trips

Most of the time I work from home, which comes with its own set of distractions and challenges. It also comes with great perks, so I’m happy to work through the difficulties.

Quite often, though, I hop in the car with my husband, who is, I kid you not, a traveling salesman. We wind our way through the exotic hills and byways of rural Missouri and Illinois. He stops and talks to customers. I work, or nap, or pass snacks back to the kids.

Did I mention that we have four kids, aged eight and under, and we bring them with us?

You may not find yourself in exactly our situation (though if you do, I’d really like to meet you) but if you do any traveling by car, these tips for staying productive can apply.

1. Bring your own power

Your back-up battery pack. Your charging cables. Your car charger. And your own wi-fi if possible.

You know something that is not fun? Racing against your computer’s dying battery to finish an article on time. Competition can induce productivity, sure, but this type of work does not usually result in high-quality anything.

Better, far better, to over-prepare for all the device life you need, for phones, iPad, laptop, or anything else you might require for your work. When I travel, I charge and bring a battery pack that I can use on any of my devices, as well as a car charger that lets me plug in two USB cables.

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Wi-fi may not be necessary for you, and there are ways to work around bringing your own wifi with you (see the next point). But even when I follow my own advice in tip #2, I still tend to find little things I’ve forgotten that I can take care of with wifi. And sometimes hotel wireless is slower than molasses on Christmas. Finishing up work at the hotel goes a lot faster when I have a high-speed connection.

2. Separate your work into two categories: “travel-friendly” and “office-friendly”

Of course you can rename the categories whatever you want. The point is that there are some parts of your work that you can easily do in a mobile environment, and there are some that are a hassle without your full office set-up.

Doing online research, pulling source documents, and digging through government or academic archives for the studies I want is a lot easier when I’m in my home office. It’s doable on the road, but slow and frustrating. So I look ahead when I’m about to travel, and spend the day before doing all the research needed. Then I save the documents to my Kindle or tablet and can read at leisure enroute.

Figure out what part of your work can travel well and what can’t. Do the office-friendly work before you leave or schedule it for after you return.

3. Use your headphones

And find your jam. Your work jam, that is. You probably already have a playlist that gets you into work mode. If not, spend a little time putting one together and saving it to your device.

When it’s work time, plug in your headphones and let yourself get into the zone. Having the same “trigger” music helps your brain realize that it’s work time even though you’re in a moving vehicle.

4. Bring healthy snacks and water with you

Road food is not good food. Well, sometimes it’s good, but it’s usually not healthy. What you want when you’re working are healthy, energy-rich snacks that will boost your brain power without putting you into a food coma. Gas station Slurpees and a giant bag of Flamin’ Cheetos do not fall into this category.

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Bring an insulated lunch bag with a couple of bottled waters and some snacks. Maintain your energy by snacking moderately every hour or so and staying hydrated.

5. Take exercise breaks

Any major US highway will have rest areas along it. Most small towns will have a park or two.

And then, no matter where you go, there’s this thing called “Nature.” Maybe you’ve heard of it? Breathtaking, really. Trees, rocks, hills, valleys, grass, sometimes flowers. And this “Nature” thing is ideal for an exercise break.

Fifteen minutes of exercise can boost your brain and energy and help you get focused on work again. When you feel yourself lagging, stop and take a brisk walk, do some jumping jacks, climb a tree, stretch, show off your yoga poses. If you have kids, a game of tag or kickball can do the trick. (P.S. If you’re traveling with kids, a fifteen-minute exercise, um, play break can do wonders for them, too.)

6. Set up your portable office

This could be a bag, a briefcase, a box, or the entire backseat of your car. Whatever works best for you. Put together a pile of the stuff you need for working in the car: all that power-related paraphernalia from tip #1, plus the devices themselves, along with any books, notebooks, and supplies.

Then find a good container for it all; one with compartments is best. If you don’t have a compartmentalized bag or tote, create one by using smaller containers within a larger one.

For example, you can use pencil bags to store charging cables; a travel-sized file box to hold your papers, books, and notebooks; a small tote or zippered bag to hold your supplies.

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This may seem OCD (okay, it is) but having all your work stuff organized and sorted, easy to grab, and easy to put away in the right place will make working in the car a much better experience.

7. Make and follow a plan

When you know you’ll be in the car for six hours, you might think, “Awesome! Think of all the work I can get done in six solid hours!”

Well… maybe.

Most humans can’t work, or at least not very well, for six solid hours without some breaks, some variety, and a good plan to follow. So spend the first fifteen minutes of your trip making a plan. (Or do this before you even leave.) Make a list of the tasks or projects you want to work on. Then decide how much time you want to work on each one. Leave yourself enough time for snacks and exercise breaks.

A breakdown of your six-hour trip might look like this:

  • 15 minutes: make a plan
  • 45 minutes: do Task 17 of Project A
  • 15 minutes: snack break
  • 1 hour: do Task 12 of Project B
  • 15 minutes: exercise break
  • 1.5 hours: tackle Tasks 1 – 3 of New Project
  • 15 minutes: snack break
  • 15 minutes: exercise break
  • 1 hour: follow-up on Finalized Project
  • 15 minutes: snack break
  • 30 minutes: wrap up any unfinished tasks from the day
  • 45 minutes: chill and enjoy the ride

8. Get audiobooks for on-the-go learning

If you’re driving, or if even the thought of looking at your laptop in the car makes you nauseated, no worries. You can still be productive, and I don’t just mean by having another power nap. (Though there’s nothing wrong with those, either.)

Get a subscription to Audible, or visit LibriVox for free audiobooks. Download a few selections before you leave. (Downloading en route will eat up your data usage in a hurry).

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9. Use voice capture for quick and safe note-taking

Listening to all those audiobooks can spark a lot of great ideas. (Yay! Inspiration!) Make it easy and safe to capture those notes by using the voice capture option on your phone. Record notes as you simply speak aloud.

If you’re driving, use one of your exercise breaks to get your voice capture queued up and ready to go, so you’re not fumbling with buttons while you’re operating a moving vehicle. Because you’re not that stupid, right?

Good. I’m on the road out there, too, and I have kids in my car.

10. Set your devices and screens up for work-readiness

This is best done before you leave home. Clear your devices of any battery-draining apps, and clear out or relocate stuff that is taking up all your memory.

Then set up your device screens for work-readiness: Move all of your personal, fun, distracting apps to a difference screen(s). Put shortcuts and widgets for your primary work apps on their own screen(s).

If you have particular apps that are addicting (I’m looking at you, Candy Crush), you might even go so far as to remove them from your devices for the trip.

If you really want to be productive, why make it hard on yourself? Remove the distraction. When you reach your hotel (or whatever), you can download it again and play without guilt, knowing you’ve done a good day’s work.

Featured photo credit: timo_w2s via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

How To Be A Successful Person And What Makes A Person Unsuccessful

How To Be A Successful Person And What Makes A Person Unsuccessful

How would you define a successful person?

Perhaps it’s someone who’s ruthless, ambitious or intimidating? Perhaps it’s someone who’s business-minded, apathetic or controlling?

While on the outside, these traits may seem to play a part in what makes up a successful person, in truth it goes a lot deeper than this. There’s a sense of character that we rarely consider or synonymize with success, but it’s these intrinsic traits that are the true driving force behind a highly successful person.

So what are the differences between successful and unsuccessful people and how to be a successful person?

This article will delve deeper into what qualities define success and failure so you can identify what’s needed for your own path to success.

1. Successful people compliment; unsuccessful people criticize.

Successful people look for positive aspects in others because they understand the importance of cultivating confidence and growth.

Feeling the need to criticize in a way that isn’t serving another constructively is showing a sense of disunity, disallowing the creative energy to flow and stalling success along the way.

2. Successful people learn to forgive; unsuccessful people hold on to grudges.

The art of forgiveness is the art of letting go. Successful people know that to forgive doesn’t mean condoning what someone has done, but rather releasing the negative emotion around it for their own peace of mind. Only then can they move past it and strive harder.

Unsuccessful people tend to hold on to grudges, causing the negative situation and energy to fester away and inevitably affect their success.

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3. Successful people accept responsibility; unsuccessful people blame others.

To be successful, you have to accept that you’re responsible for your actions, your reactions and ultimately your success and failures. This creates a mindset of empowerment and control.

Good outcomes are easy to take responsibility for, but when you realize the bad outcomes are also down to you, you can swiftly redirect to a better path and grow from the experience.

Unsuccessful people throw the blame onto others when things don’t go to plan. By doing this, they are not identifying with their own power and fall into victim mode resulting in the inability to see the opportunities for creating personal growth and therefore creating more success.

4. Successful people follow through with their habits; unsuccessful people say they do but in reality don’t.

Success is down to consistent habits and successful people know this and stick to them. They create a positive morning routine, they may meditate, they may take time to journal or plan out goals. They do this every day.

Unsuccessful people also know the importance of positive habits but they just don’t stick to them in a consistent way. They don’t make them a priority, create a lack of dedication, or just simply believe they’ll be successful without them.

5. Successful people want others to succeed; unsuccessful people want others to fail.

Highly successful people know that other people’s success doesn’t diminish their own. They look at people’s achievements and celebrate them because it’s about focusing on the element of thriving which ultimately benefits everyone.

Sometimes people don’t outwardly say they want someone to fail and may even seem to celebrate another’s success. But deep-down there is an element of jealousy or hope for failure. This comes from a lack mentality, triggering self-limiting beliefs about their ability to succeed and playing the comparison game.

6. Successful people keep a ‘to-be’ list; unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

Successful people focus, not just on what they want to do, but also how they want to be. This stems from knowing the importance of personal growth within the journey to success and becoming a person capable of achieving that success.

Unsuccessful people tend to focus on the end goal without giving much thought to the person they want to become to get there. Dismissing this crucial part of success can be one of the major downfalls as working on yourself is paramount to creating a successful life.

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7. Successful people focus on themselves; unsuccessful people focus on others.

While successful people focus on their personal growth and concentrate on their responsibility for success, unsuccessful people spend much of their time focusing on what others are doing.

They compare themselves to others in a detrimental way and use it to create the energy of lack and low self-worth within themselves.

8. Successful people set goals; unsuccessful people just go with the flow.

Everyone knows that to be successful, you have to set yourself goals.

Thinking big and believing you can achieve them gives you something to strive for. It creates structure and it creates a game plan no matter how small the goals are.

Unsuccessful people don’t set goals which means they may have a great idea but constantly feel lost trying to achieve them and causing them to give up more easily.

9. Successful people focus on the positive; unsuccessful people focus on the negative.

It’s really simple; a positive mindset sends you on the direction of success and a negative mindset can only steer you towards failure.

When you’re in a positive state (even when facing a particular challenge), you attract more positive opportunities. When you only see the negative, you literally blind yourself from seeing answers to problems because you’re usually so fixated on the problems.

10. Successful people embrace change; unsuccessful people fear change.

Everything is temporary and change is inevitable. Successful people realize this and know that change is a necessary part of success.

Unsuccessful people want change but fear it happening or find it hard to embrace the change that inevitably needs to happen. This just slows it all down and makes the process harder than it needs to be.

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Choose to see all change as positive and always serving you on your road to success.

11. Successful people share information; unsuccessful people horde information.

Sharing is a concept that successful people understand and implement. It comes from an abundance mindset and the want to help others succeed around you.

Keeping information to yourself when you know it’ll benefit others comes from a lackful and fearful mindset. When you feel you have to act in order to benefit yourself and no one else, it will only take your success so far.

12. Successful people read everyday; unsuccessful people watch TV everyday.

This ties in with having consistent positive habits. When they have downtime, successful people will fill their mind with motivational books and know the benefits of focusing the mind to read.

When your relaxation time consists of sitting on the sofa and binge watching TV, while okay to a point, it’s choosing a less stimulating path and dodging a more productive way to use your spare time.

Successful people use this time wisely and implement it into their desire to succeed.

13. Successful people show gratitude; unsuccessful people show entitlement.

The attitude of gratitude is the secret weapon for every successful person.

Whether it’s gratitude for where they are no matter what stage they’re at, for the people around them and even the challenges they face, appreciation for everything brings more things to be grateful for (and therefore success) into their lives.

Unsuccessful people usually feel like the world owes them their eventual success. They don’t fully appreciate the opportunities, the lessons or the people that help steer them on the path.

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As a result, progress feels much slower and harder to reach simply because they’re not in a state of appreciating the ins and outs of the journey.

14. Successful people talk about ideas; unsuccessful people talk about people.

Successful people focus on creativity and the different ways they can achieve success. In other words, they’re more focused on solving the problem by creating inspired ideas and this is what they talk about.

Unsuccessful people tend to focus on external sources, usually other people. They rely on others for ideas, or they focus more on what other people are or aren’t doing. This goes back to pushing the blame or responsibility to the people around them rather than taking responsibility.

15. Successful people give the credit to others; unsuccessful people take the credit for themselves.

If the success is a team effort, even if most of the work was done by you, you give credit to others and share in the celebration. Acknowledging the contributions of others is a common trait in successful people.

On the other end of the spectrum, those that take all the noteworthy credit for themselves, despite not being the only one who worked towards the goal, is on a surefire route to some degree of failure in the long term.

Make significant progress with the traits of success

Successful people definitely have a different perspectives on success to those that try and fail.

A mindset of gratitude, teamwork and putting more emphasis on the journey rather than the destination are all key elements when it comes to success.

Learning and emulating these characteristics and traits of highly successful people from a space of growth and self-improvement will help you achieve the success you’re dreaming of.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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