I have just finished my speaking and training travel tour going to Vegas, Jacksonville, and DC over the past 12 days. Flying is still one of the few places you can think and reflect…unfortunately email seems to find us anywhere we go.
I choose not to connect to wi-fi for email on my trips….for years I traveled without it and nothing is that important that it can’t wait till I land. I believe more business travelers should follow my lead. On the way home from DC I sat next to a gentleman about my age, who obviously didn’t get my message….he must have nailed 60 emails in less than 30 minutes….I wasn’t sure whether to clap or offer my deepest regrets for his work….He seemed really intense about the whole thing….Maybe I was just looking at my former self in the mirror.
Reformed addicts are the worst critics. I spent the past 13 yrs. attached to first my blackberry and then my iPhone and Ipad on business trips, not to mention nights and weekends. In my last role I banged out emails at 7am and 9pm on the Long Island railroad. There my only solace was the 6-7 minutes going thru the east side tunnel each way….
I was never really a phone person, preferring personal interaction over phone calls, I still rarely text…but none of us can avoid the onslaught of email today.
When I first started travelling heavily in the late 90’s, while at the Limited, I used my “air” time to do strategic planning and work. This continued while at Leviton. With 16 hr. trips to Hong Kong you can do a lot of thinking and exploring. Maybe that has a relationship to when and where I did my best work….I am not sure, but it had too.
Now for the first time in almost 20 yrs. I again have thinking time. Not just up in the air, but on the ground too. Your brain is like a muscle that you have to use or it gets atrophied. I am starting to flex it more without all the noise and distractions.
I think Americans need to find more time to do this too. I continue to advocate for scheduling an hour of me time at work everyday (no mtgs. or phone calls. blocked on your calendar). I personally prefer 2 different 1/2 hour slots spread during the day. Businesses should really think about this. We put a 4 hour block of strategy time into everyone’s schedule in my last job. Every Thursday from 10-2pm was a no meeting blackout. It was awesome.
Well I gotta go and check my email….yes I said less email and less frequently, I didn’t say eliminate it.