If you work and travel at the same time – are the hours you spent in transit “lost time?”

What if all those hours you spend traveling on planes, trains and busses could be your most productive? You would be able to get more done, work towards your goals as a successful affiliate marketer, create that travel affiliate website that you’ve dreamed of and make the most of your time – even when traveling! 

In my life as an affiliate marketer, I’m often getting my work down and learning everything about affiliate marketing while waiting for a plane, riding a train or taking a long distance bus. I’ll be on my way somewhere and pull out my laptop and start working on a blog post or affiliate marketing for my website.

Before I know it, I’ll get into the “flow” state of working and, I will have tapped out 1,000 words or more of good quality writing such as my affiliate marketing content. Then I snap out of my trance and look at my watch, realizing that I did an astonishing amount of work in a short time. I’ve noticed it again and again in my 7 years as a digital nomad – working in transit can be so much more productive than working at home. Traveling is the time to get push your affiliate marketing marketing business and enhance your digital nomad presence.

Travel time is valuable

Many digital nomad workers might see travel time as interruptions to their productivity, but if you can flip that around and see travel time as valuable, productive work time then this can really help you make this lifestyle work. 

So, what is it about planes, trains and automobiles that can put you in a productive state? Let’s look at some of the factors that go into why working while on the road can be more productive, as well as some tips for how you can get more stuff done while working in transit. 

There’s No Internet Connection

Although most trains and buses have WiFi these days, it is usually slow and difficult to connect to and not really worth using. So, for most of these journeys you are completely without WiFi. 

The internet is one of the most addictive things that mankind has ever invented and all of the social media channels and entertainment sites are designed to keep you clicking, scrolling and engaging.

Every feature of most social media networks is chosen to take advantage of the reward centers in your brain and make it very difficult to stop looking. Here’s a fascinating article from Vice about how it works. It’s kind of like a slot machine, we keep “pulling the lever” by checking our devices to see if we have “won” more likes or comments. 

Of course, this is incredibly bad for productivity. If you try to get work done while Facebook notifications are popping up, you better believe that it will take you up to three times as long to do the same amount of work you could do if you blocked all distractions. 

Being on a WiFi free airplane, bus or train means that you are in a bubble of calm, isolated from the constantly buzzing world of likes and retweets and in turn, more focused on getting your work done. 

How can you make the lack of internet work for you?

Here are some tips:

  • Download the documents and emails you need offline. You can also download the best affiliate marketing sites that you need to use for research.
  • If you use a project management system like Trello, many offer offline services so you can continue to plan, organize and edit while on the road. 
  • Before you leave, make sure that you have everything you need to do your work saved on a USB stick. 
  • If you listen to music while you work, make sure that your favorite concentration playlists are downloaded offline. 
  • Check to ensure that your laptop has a fully charged battery and that you have everything else you need, including headphones, etc. 
  • If you run into something while working offline that you need to look up, just make a note for yourself and keep working on something else. You can look it up later when you get WiFi again. 

You Can’t Get up and Do Anything Else

One of the other productivity busters of working at a home office is that there is always something else you could be doing. Do you find yourself stepping away from the computer to start laundry, browse the affiliate marketing marketplaces, make yourself a snack, wash the dishes, make another cup of coffee,  etc.? It’s really easy to step away from the computer and get caught up in another task. 

Procrastination is powerful and I’m sure many people can relate.

However, when you are on a train, plane or bus you can’t do this – because there really isn’t anywhere else to go. If you get up, all you can do is walk up and down the aisle, go to the bathroom and sit down again. There’s not many other situations in our lives where we are bound to one location for such a long period of time without the distraction of the internet or people. 

There’s also no one to talk to – you’re not in an office with chatty co-workers or at home with your family. You’re alone in a sea of strangers, stuck in a seat for the next several hours with nothing but your laptop and the items on your to-do list. 

Without anything else on your mind – you might find that it is much easier to focus without getting pulled away from your work when you are in transit. It forces you to sit down and get started. 

If you find yourself often distracted by doing other things when you are trying to work, try using transit time as a chance to sit down and stay focused. 

 I Want to Finish Before I Arrive

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? That’s the concept that the work you have to do expands to fill the time available for its completion. 

Another great thing about working in transit is that it will force you into a deadline. If your day involves a journey and you have a certain amount of tasks you want to accomplish, it puts some pressure on you. If you only have a four hour train ride to complete your day’s work, you are motivated to focus and get it done before you arrive. 

There’s nothing worse during a work/travel day to arrive at your destination, go through the hassle of checking into your hotel and getting settled, then having to get back to work and finish the rest of your tasks. 

If you get all of the work done while in transit, then you’ll know that you can relax and take the rest of the day off when you get to your destination. There’s a reward waiting for you at the end of the line, so you’re motivated to get stuff done. 

You Can Get Into “Deep Work” Mode 

One of the best recent books I have read on productivity is Deep Work by Cal Newport. He argues that ridding yourself of all distractions in your environment allows you to completely immerse yourself in a cognitively demanding task and produce better results in less time. 

Working in transit does exactly that . All distractions, such as browsing the internet, checking your email or just chatting with friends are removed. You are able to “go deep” and actually get work done.  As mentioned earlier working in transit isolates you because you don’t have an internet connection. Working in transit creates the ideal environment for “deep work”. 

There was an additional interesting anecdote that Cal shared in the book. He wrote about Peter Shankman, the founder of HARO. He landed a book deal, but he was struggling to sit down and concentrate and write the book. 

So, he booked a round trip flight all the way to Tokyo, Japan. Yup, he didn’t plan on spending any time in Japan, he was just sitting on the airplane for the sole purpose of creating a distraction-free environment for writing in. When he got to Tokyo he turned right around and headed back home. After the 30 hour flight, he had completed the full manuscript. It’s a little bit crazy and wasteful, but it shows how productive working in transit can be.

Powerful Productivity Lessons from Deep Work

If you don’t have time to read the book, here are some takeaways:

  • The ability to focus on one thing in depth for a significant amount of time is a skill that many people lack in our modern world as technology fragments our attention.
  • Humans are actually terrible at multitasking. 
  • Cultivating this skill will allow you to cut out distractions and produce higher quality work in less time, giving you an advantage over your peers. 
  • It is also essential for learning hard skills and improving yourself – to conquer new challenges you must be able to focus without distraction. If you try to learn a new skill with your Facebook feed open, your brain will be firing too many circuits at once and you won’t be able to isolate the neurons within the brain you are trying to strengthen. 
  • You’ll always need to be constantly practicing your concentration skills and learning where to put your attention so that it is most productive. Your ability to concentrate deeply is only as strong as your commitment to train it. 
  • The difference between the average performer and the expert performer is a constant and deliberate effort to improve performance. 
  • When you are working, work hard. When you’re done, rest and recharge. 

The Power of Working From Planes, Trains and Buses

When you have a long journey ahead of you, don’t see that as unproductive, wasted time. Instead, look forward to it because it’s a chance to get work done and even get ahead of the game. 

Do you find that working in transit helps you to be productive? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments and let us know that you think.