I live in New York City, so it should come as no surprise that I find myself in taxicabs or Ubers on a pretty regular basis.
As a business owner, this can be infuriating. I already have enough on my plate as it is--I'm working 60 or more hours a week--and now I have to spend 20 minutes sitting in a cab when I could be doing valuable work at my desk. If I have a meeting that's fifteen minutes away, that's thirty minutes of my day wasted on commuting.
There's plenty of debate around whether or not people should be working during their commute, but the reality is that I'm able to save multiple hours each week by making my cab rides as productive as possible. Here's how I've done it.
Asynchronous Meetings Are Your Friend
I, like most business owners, have a lot of recurring meetings. These tend to be weekly meetings that are meant for sharing updates amongst my staff. As one example, I have a weekly meeting with each member of my executive team where we discuss their progress from the last week, any issues that arose, and what we're planning to do for the coming week.
About two months ago, I decided to switch things up. I found that I was really just listening to them talk for close to thirty minutes, and then I'd give my thoughts at the end. Why did we have to actually do this face to face?
I told my team to simply send me a video recording of themselves going through their updates from the week. Every Saturday, I get their video recordings.
I watch these videos throughout the week--mostly when I'm in a cab. If needed, I'll record a quick video of myself giving some thoughts and send it back to them. Sometimes a simple Slack message is all that's needed.
I've legitimately saved myself five hours of time each week by eliminating almost a days worth of meetings and conducting all of them from the back seat of a cab. Just ask yourself the question, "Could I avoid this meeting by having this person send me a recording?"
You might be surprised by the results.
You Don't Have to be at Your Desk to Create Content
When I'm at my desk, I like to be working on high-value projects that can't be done anywhere else. I rarely, if ever, work on creating content from my desk. This is another thing I've been able to take with me on the go.
Much like my asynchronous meetings, I use video and audio recordings for most of my content. It's pretty simple. I keep track of content ideas as they come to me in a simple, organized list. (Personally, I use reminders in Inbox by Google, but really any system could work.)
The next time I'm in a cab or in transit, I'll pop open my list of content ideas, start a voice memo, and just start talking. I talk about the topic, give my general thoughts, explain the kind of format I'd like, give title options, etc. It's a brain dump that has everything I (or someone else) needs to create a piece of content.
Once you have a recording like this, there are a couple ways to proceed. You can send it to someone on your staff to write up, you could outsource it to a content creation service or freelancer, or you can save it as an outline to write up later.
By doing this, I've been able to get back multiple hours of valuable work-time at my desk that I would have otherwise spent creating content.
Prioritize Based on Your Environment
Everyone's business is different. I've mentioned two examples that may or may not apply to you, and I have plenty more that I could share. But the important thing is that you figure out what tasks you simply must do at your desk or in your office, and save the other stuff for those times where you're in a less-than-optimal area for conducting business--like the back of a cab.
Anything that requires large amounts of typing I generally reserve for my desk. High-level meetings, working within programs (like a CRM)--these are all things that are most effective when done at your desk, in front of your computer. The fact of the matter is that listening to someone talk for 10 minutes is not an efficient use of time when you're sitting at your desk.
In addition to what I've listed above, I use my time in transit to read messages, clean up my inbox, and take care of any simple to-do items--all from my phone. That way, when I do get back to my desk, I only have to focus on the high-value stuff.