Spring has sprung, the nights are getting shorter and the work day is growing longer. And longer. Aaaaaand longer. Too bad so much of that day is spent behind the wheel of the truck. Driving is boring. And unproductive. You can be as crafty as you like about scheduling your clients by geographical area so you don’t have to drive to the four corners of the earth every day, and you can be as appreciative as possible about the scenery you pass, but there’s going to be a point at which you just want something to do. Here are some productive (and safe!) ideas about how to pass all that driving time:
1. Listen to Podcasts
There are a number of amazing podcasts out there that you can listen to and learn from while you drive. For example, Horse Radio Network has a range of podcasts about horse health, specific disciplines, horsemanship and daily tips. The Whoa Podcast is a general series about all aspects of horses and horsemanship. Straight from the Horse’s Mouth features interviews where veterinarians, trainers and experts from all areas of the equine world talk shop. Equinely-Inclined covers current events and equine-related issues in addition to interviews. They’re free to download. You can choose the episodes you want to listen to, or put them all onto your phone and listen at random. You could learn a lot just by listening.
2. Plan Your Day
Voice recording has come a long way from that tried and true dictation machine – the combination of a tape recorder and a person who then listens to the recording and writes it all down. Voice to text software and apps are actually pretty good now, so you can in theory use the time you spend in your truck to jot down your weekly schedule, your notes on the horses you’ve just done, your reminders to yourself and pretty much anything else, without having to take your hands off the wheel. Some apps feature an editing function, and most will allow you to share what you’ve dictated through social media and email. Some you’ll need to pay for, but there are some free options, as well. TechWeek Europe has a roundup of what it thinks the 10 best dictation apps on the market are.
3. Network Without Crashing Your Truck
You don’t need me to tell you that calling, texting, or emailing clients while you drive is not a good idea. Physics tells you that. And also the law. The law tells you that this is not a good idea in a number of places. But there are safer hands-free options that let you return calls, texts and emails from the road. Hands-free apps for your phone can read your messages aloud to you and then compose voice to text replies that you can preview (or rather, pre-listen to) and then send through voice command. You can also use voice commands to wake up your phone and have it call or text someone. Some apps feature auto-reply options that you can activate if you don’t feel like to talking to someone, or, I don’t know, feel like you’ve been answering the same questions all day long. The website Appcrawlr offers a list of what’s out there.
Some of your clients’ horses (and to be totally honest, probably some of your clients…) will put a lot of stress on you, physically and mentally. The drive between clients can be an excellent time to unwind if you use it purposefully. Re-playing a conversation that made you angry over and over, or fantasizing about giving that ornery horse a swift kick in the ass might momentarily make you feel better, but it won’t ultimately help you resolve anything or get rid of any tension. Engage in things that put you in a more focused, positive frame of mind. Playing your favourite music, listening to an audiobook, taking a minute to catch up with friends and family (using all the hands-free technology we just talked about), or even doing something mentally active like planning how to grow your business or (re)defining your professional goals, will help re-orient your focus away from the negative parts of your day.
Hopefully these ideas will tide you over until self-driving cars or teleportation devices become a feature of our lives (which is going to be awesome). With any luck, you can pull into your driveway having a little more knowledge and a little less paperwork, correspondence and stress to worry about. And that will be awesome, too.