Most freelance writers spend a lot of time driving in cars or using public transportation. Whatever way you travel, you need to make the best use of this time.
Let’s take an example. Say you spend an average of 5 hours a week traveling. That’s 260 hours a year, the equivalent of six and half 40-hour work weeks.
Improve as You Move
What can you do with this time? Make the most of it by learning as you travel with audio books and other audio learning materials.
There are hundreds of thousands of audio books, audio lectures, and other business and educational audios you can listen to on a smartphone, an iPod or other audio player, or on CD.
You can get tips on how to run your freelance writing business more efficiently, how to increase your marketing results, and how to design and market your writer website. More and more quality people create free podcasts for freelance writers, self-employed people, and small business owners that you can easily download. Or if you’re a member of a site like the Freelance Writers Den, you’ll have dozens of audios to listen to specifically about freelance writing.
You can also learn about any academic subject imaginable from some of the best lecturers on earth. I’ve listened to over a dozen courses from The Teaching Company, including courses on Roman history, the American Revolution, and psychology, and I’m currently listening to history and politics audios from professors at UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Harvard.
As you can see, audios can relate directly to your freelance writing activities, or you can listen just because you’re interested in the subject. You’re either boosting your business or boosting your brain, both good outcomes.
Be An Active Learner
I’m always an active learner. When I’m listening to audios, I dictate notes into a digital recorder. I later listen to the files and type notes in Word documents, some of which I then print out and put in binders for later review.
Active learning also involves thinking deeply and critically about what you hear, and also thinking about how you will implement what you learn.
3 Instances When I Don’t Listen to Audios When I’m Driving
First, when traffic is heavy…
and I need to give it my full, active attention. Safety when driving is paramount; you must be careful when driving so that you do not endanger yourself and others. I live in a rural section of southern Oregon and frequently travel on roads with very little traffic, so I have ample time to listen. However, when I’m in big cities – housesitting in San Francisco Bay Area for instance – I focus all my attention on navigating those busy freeways.
Second, when other people are in the car…
it’s often best to have a good conversation. Of course, it’s also great when you all want to listen to the same audio, which often leads to intriguing discussions.
Third, when I’m driving in really beautiful country…
I like to just take in the scenery. This frequently happens when I’m traveling in rural areas in southern Oregon and northern California. So many stunning mountains, forests, meadows, and streams line the roads here that I typically find myself just enjoying where I am.
Using Your Smartphone, Tablet, or E-Reader
Many of us have these devices, and if you’re a auto passenger or on public transportation, you can use them to answer and send important e-mails and also to do important research or reading.
However, be mindful of your traveling companions and your surroundings. Are you truly doing important tasks, or are you just taking your mind from the here and now to the there and then?
Where to Find Audios
There are tens of thousands of sources. Here are a few of the big ones…
The Teaching Company sells college-level courses on hundreds of topics.
Itunes has courses from all over the country, many for free. Just search for subjects that interest you.
Amazon.com allows you to buy audio versions of tens of thousands of books.
Do you listen to audios when you’re on the road? What do you listen to, and with what device? Any tips to add about how to make the best use of travel time?