Arriving Smarter: More Than 15 Ways to Get Busy During Dead Time

Most of us spend at least an hour a day travelling; commuting to work by car, train, bus or flying somewhere for business. It’s time that’s often spent looking out of the window, texting mates or eyeing the cute guy/girl sitting across from you on the train. (Or if you’re travelling to London, wondering whether the leaves on the track are going to delay the train again…)

It’s an hour or more that you should recuperate and use for your own benefits; arrive to your destination feeling smarter.


Kicking off 2009 with a new themeword: Impact

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about my #themeword for 2008, which was exploration. My objectives were to explore in four key areas; travel, business opportunities, new or unused skills and friendships/ relationships.

Owl photo by Aussie Flickr user AaardvaarkIn reflection, it was a good year. In fact, it was an amazing year. I could have done better in terms of travel; I did an awful job of going to new destinations to which I’d promised myself a visit! But I did well in balancing work and fun, with plenty of dinner parties and get togethers with friends throughout the year.

When I wrote about business opportunities exploration, in the back of my mind, I knew I would work for myself before the year was out, it was just a question of having the cojones to jump, so the latter part of 2008 has offered me a taster of what 2009 will bring.

So on with this year’s themeword. I’ve opted for one overarching theme, divided into three key goals, reflecting what Chris Brogan and many others have done.

In 2009

I hope that in 2009, I can use the knowledge I’ve acquired to make a difference. If I can help one business make a lasting impact on their customers, or help someone learn the true value of the communication tools I’m so grateful for, I’ll be a happy gal.

To put it into action, I want to create, lead and focus.

Create by pushing ideas beyond replicas of what’s been done elsewhere by someone else and produce something remarkable.

Lead by example in doing marketing work that is graceful, ethical and genuinely valuable to its participants.

Focus on the right things. With rivers of news and infinite numbers of social networks, with masses of potential projects, clients and events, in 2009 I will need to focus my attention, energy and abilities on the most important ones. After all, there’s only one of me!

Beyond this big picture, I’ve also got a few simple things I’ve promised myself this year, most more personal than the above.

  • Backup my digital life regularly and reliably
  • Host or go out for dinner with (non-business) friends at least once a month
  • Call my mom more regularly and book a trip to Canada before summer 🙂
  • Visit my sister in Paris when she heads there to study for a few months
  • Take (and publish) more photos on Flickr to remember important life events
  • Keep making homemade stuff like cards, liqueurs and tons of fresh cooking. It’s good for the mental health.

What’s your themeword for the year? Need inspiration? Try searching for #themeword on Twitter Search.

[Image: Owl photo by Aussie Flickr user Aaardvaark under Creative Commons]

A new year, a new beginning & a new challenge

It’s been radio silence on that canadian girl for the past few weeks, but certainly not because I haven’t had anything to say. These past few weeks have been some of the most eventful ones of my life, in fact.

Just over a month ago, I officially became my own boss, kicking my social media consulting work up a notch. Then, during our week-long holiday to Menorca, I turned 27, realising I’m a year older – and hopefully wiser.

At the beginning of 2008, my themeword was exploration and it couldn’t be any more relevant today.

I wanted to explore my own abilities, and chose to organise SocialMediaCamp London, a one-day BarCamp event covering topics surrounding blogs, podcasts, lifecasting, community, using new media cleverly, marketing ethics, social networks now and in the future. The event was this past weekend, and I have to admit, I’m unspeakably happy about it. I’m thrilled with how the day went, I’m proud of the level of participation from the attendees and I’m excited about the opportunities for future events.

So ahead of me lie many new challenges, but you know what? I can’t wait to bite into them over the next few months.

Themeword: Exploration

In early January, Chris Messina and many others kicked off the new year with “theme words”, ideas that should help them focus their efforts.

themeword explorationI thought I’d share the #themeword I picked a month ago and have been following since. It’s “exploration”, in every sense of the word.

Exploration in the travel sense. I want to see more of Europe. I’ve been in the UK for some years now but haven’t had a varied holiday track records, going mainly to Canada to see the family and Menorca for a touch of sun. I want to see the Italian countryside, check out the Scandinavian winter to compare to the Canadian one, see more of France, especially the South. I unquestionably want to fly out to New Zealand to see my sister during her stay there, and I want to give some parts of the US another go, even though I’m not so fond of Maricans.

Exploration of business opportunities. Last night, while invoicing a few older pepsmedia clients who have ongoing hosting contracts with us, I realised how far I’d come in confidence, knowledge and general business sense since we started. Every year, every month, I can see that we’re producing better projects, making clients happier and feeling more in control of our business. It’s hard work, but it’s genuinely enjoyable and rewarding. I look forward to another year of growth and new ideas, pushing myself further than before.

Exploration of skills and abilities that are currently nascent or unused. I know too well that it’s easy to sit within your existing comfort zone and use exclusively the skills you already master. It allows you to look good, always in control, but it doesn’t take much to fall into a much-dreaded routine. As my inspirational and downright wonderful grandfather always showed me, you stay young by continuing to learn. There’s a world of possibilities out there, and I don’t see a reason to stop now.

Exploration of my friendships and relationships. There are so many great people in my life with whom I don’t spend enough time, I want to take advantage of our soon-to-be new house’s dining room and back garden to have as many dinner parties, bbqs and social get-togethers as possible, enjoying life and good company.

While exploring – and my life in general – seems to be about more, more, more, faster, faster, faster, I also want to think in terms of less and slower. Taking me-time to breathe and think and focus myself. Eating better, at the dining table and without the tv on. Having evenings where both Andrew and I can relax without worrying about work to be done.

So far, it’s looking like it’ll be a good year… What’s your themeword?