I have an eight-year-old daughter whom I drive to school every day. I didn’t use to, but I do now because not only does it give me a chance to get out and about—I work from home all the time and I rarely leave the house; once a week or once every two weeks—but, for the most part, it allows me to step back and think about things more.
My daughter is a major introvert like me if you could believe that. She just likes to sit back there in the very back seat with her iPad and her headphones on. I like to take her to school to get the time to listen to podcasts.
If you’re not listening to a podcast, any kind of educational podcast, then you are doing yourself a disservice. I enjoy using the podcatcher app DownCast but there are lots of others out there. I enjoy DownCast because I also have the app on my MacBook and on my Apple Watch as well. It seamlessly integrates and syncs everything well.
If you have a commute, or you’re going anywhere that requires even more than 10 or 15 minutes listen to a podcast. I rarely ever listen to Spotify or the radio. If you’re like me, I rarely let myself get out of the grind. I’m sitting at a computer coding away, doing things I want to do. I rarely spend the time to take a step back and figure out why I am doing the thing that I’m doing and get ideas.
Conferences are another good place to do this, too. If you’re at a conference, you’re not really allowed to do your normal thing. You don’t get interrupted, you’re not tempted to just start to go do work, checking tasks off your list or closing user stories.
This is another reason for the car. Any passive time that you have, don’t just waste it listening to the radio or to Spotify. If you’re familiar with Zig Ziglar, he did a talk a long time ago called Automobile University. He mentioned that the car is the best way to learn something new and to just get exposed to new things. I couldn’t agree more.
Driving in the car is a really good opportunity to take these slices of time that you have and to really start listening to podcasts, even listening to YouTube sometimes if you want to listen to a video.
Use the car for learning time. Use it as you’re taking your daughter to school. Use it as you’re commuting to work. Use it when going on vacation. Use podcasts and audiobooks—don’t just listen to the radio. I know it’s entertaining, and I do it sometimes too when I’m in a bad mood. But just use the time wisely, and really try to learn something new from it.