For many busy project managers one of the biggest time-wasters is driving. I personally probably spend an hour or two per day driving, which is a large proportion of my time. It’s a difficult one to do much about, but there are a few tactics I’ve developed over the years, and here are my top five…
First is combine trips if you can – do a round trip visiting several people in the same area. If you have a map with all of your customers on there it may help you to think about who is near to whom (you can do this with google maps if you don’t want to have a big map on your wall).
Second is to use google maps traffic view on your phone so that you’re a step ahead of traffic jams – there’s nothing worse than getting stuck on the freeway and there isn’t an exit for miles.
Third is to park up and do some work on your laptop until the traffic clears – if you have the kind of job where there are quite big chunks that you can do on your laptop then you have to do them some time, you may as well sit in a café or even in the sunshine and get some work done. It might even be a better working environment than your office! So have your laptop in the car at all times, fully charged up, and maybe keep some jobs in the pipeline as fill in work for when you are stranded somewhere.
Fourth is to use talking books or record things from the radio to listen to as you drive, so the time isn’t wasted. I guess they should really be educational stuff, but on the other hand driving is such a pain that maybe you DESERVE to have something exciting or fun to listen to at least some of the time.
The fifth way that I make use of my driving time is catching up on phone calls. If it’s legal and safe you can use hands free to make calls – only ones that don’t require reading or writing things down of course – and I have a list of calls which are not particularly time dependent and which are likely to be long, and I make these from my car when I’m on a boring bit of road of when I’m stuck in traffic. Again, an hour of phone calls made from my car saves me an hour a week of prime time in my office or with my family.
So those are my thoughts on driving: joining visits together, google traffic, parking up till it clears, talking books and phone calls – are there any changes you can make in order to take advantage of all of those?