For the past few months I’ve been traveling every week or every other week. The travel has been primarily for public speaking events – conferences, workshops, book signings, etc. It’s been fun, but it comes at a very high cost: A chaotic schedule.
We’ve written (and spoken) at length about the pitfalls of interruption at work. Every interruption cuts your work day into a series of work moments. 45 minutes here, then a meeting. A hour there, then a conference call. 20 minutes until someone taps you on the shoulder or calls your name across the office. These events kill productivity.
Most of these interruptions are experienced at a micro level. They’re experienced during a day. But I’ve found the same thing holds true on a macro level. If you stretch your time scale out to weeks or months, a day trip here or a couple days away there has the same effect: It kills productivity. A couple days away a week is like a few meetings a day — it makes it hard to get anything meaningful done. An interruption is an interruption.
This past Monday I gave my last talk (UIE Web App Masters in Philly) until mid September when I’m at the Business Innovation Factory 6 conference. I have a few more after that for the year, but then I’m done. I’m going to retire from travel-required conference speaking for a while. It feels great.
It’s only been three days since my last talk, but knowing I have a clear schedule for many months has shifted me into a pleasantly productive mindset. I’ve gotten a ton done so far this week. There have been some projects I’ve been meaning to start for a while, but with future travel hanging over my head I couldn’t get into a groove. I’m back in a groove.
It’s a good reminder of the power of an open schedule. Just knowing you have the time helps you make the time. Time to put it to good use.