#WhatWorks Be Intentional with In-Between Time

Liz Presson • 26 November 2014

“It’s not enough to be busy, we must ask: ‘What are we busy about?'” -Henry David Thoreau

Flying from Minneapolis to Newark, from Newark to Paris and Paris to Madrid makes for a lot of what I call in between time. As I’m writing this, I’m standing in the baggage drop line. Next, it’s security. Then, I’ll wait for my plane to board…only to do it over again twice before I get to my destination (Madrid and then to Greece on Sunday!).

In between time can easily be filled with repeatedly checking email (did I get something since I Iast checked 5 mins ago?), scrolling through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or just tapping your foot impatiently line after line. But, this time adds up. And with a little planning it can …*switches to boarding pass to check bag*… be time to get stuff done or take a much needed mental breather.

If you’re looking to be active, pick a few things that you can do from your phone. If it’s answering email, pre-pick the emails so you don’t get stuck in the email reactive trap. I also find that these times are great to read materials too. I just create a Dropbox folder, name it “Travel [date]” and put whatever I need to read in there. Bam, productivity on the go. Just like other work, but even more so, focus on one task at a time. When you need to put it away, go right back to the same thing when you pick it up again. Simple, but not easy.

On the other hand, if you’re not taking care of something specific, put your phone away altogether.

Take the in between time to pause and reflect. Just be present in the moment, with your eyes and mind open. The point of these two contrasting suggests? Be intentional. Either get something done or fill your well. Don’t just jump into communication streams to pass the time.

The #WhatWorks series.

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