I’m traveling a lot lately – and, as I think about the time I check out of a hotel, cab to the airport, wait a while, fly across the nation, land and drive to Ojai, I realize that there’s gonna be some “in-between time.”

  • What happens when you have a day where you know there will be some open blocks of time?
  • What do you do?
  • When you’re surprised by some downtime, what are you ready for?

Here are three things I do, when I’ve got some time to do nothing:

1. Draw/write/draft in my journal. I always having something nearby to write in and with. Not always work-related, this “toolkit” makes it easy to fill the time, but also make sense of things. I loved the quote by Dan Pink (author of Drive) where he talks about why he writes. You can hear that here:

2. Gain some ground, early in the day. When you get to the airport or train station, find something in your to-do list, briefcase or purse that you can work on and finish. (I will make some calls, write a thank you card, plan the next work-day, etc.) After a few weeks, you’ll find that you’ve done a lot of those “little things” that need to be done, and may just have a bit more room, a bit more mental focus space and a bit more inspiration to tackle some of the bigger issues.

3. Interrupt people…less. Consider keeping a running list with you, and when you think of something to tell or ask someone to write it down there. Resist the temptation of emailing them, calling them or talking to them right away. Experiment with interrupting someone once an hour with 3 things, instead of 3 times per hour with one thing.

Hey, what do YOU do in your down time?