Saturday, 25 October 2008

#48 – Make the most of airport down time

Or getting productive when there’s nothing else to do.

When I’m at home, I’m a terrible procrastinator. I’ll often take all day to write a 1,000 word article, interspersed with reading every newspaper website under the sun, doing the shopping, playing online Scrabble, looking up potential flights, messing around on Facebook... You get the picture.

How long does it take to write a 1,000 word article?
This, of course, is hardly the most productive use of time. Especially given that I know I can usually write that 1,000 word article in about an hour-and-a-half if I really want to.

Sitting around in airports
How do I know this? Because I frequently manage to do it whilst sitting around in airports waiting for a flight. In fact, I’d go as far as saying I’m at my most productive when trapped in an airport. This is probably because I’ve got nothing better to do – I see no point in airport shopping, and I’ve learned to appreciate that drinking before a flight isn’t a great plan.

Take the laptop
When there’s nothing to aid procrastination, it’s remarkably easy to get productive. And this is why I almost always take my laptop with me when I go away. I might not get it out all trip while I’m on the road, but I’ll usually manage to complete (or almost complete) two articles whilst waiting around for flights at either end.
That saves me two days’ worth of writing at normal, distraction-filled pace when I get back home.

Fresh memories
Aside from there being nothing better to do, there’s another reason to make airport waiting time into work time. Usually, if you’re sat in the airport, the memories from the trip are fresh. That’s often the best time to write – when something is still vivid in the memory and you’re actively thinking about it.

Little observations
The little observations and details can dull with time, and even if you’ve diligently written them all down in a notepad, the right words and phrasing to describe them can often elude when you return to them at a later date.

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