I actually overheard a guy on a domestic US flight talk about this technique so like some of my other tips, I’m not claiming credit here, just sharing the concept.

In 2016 I have found a new technique to help me get something done when I really have to hit a deadline or maintain a specific level of focus.

I don’t know whatever the ‘inventor’ called it, but I call it ‘Journey Working’ (or sometimes a ‘get shit done day’…)

Journey Working is really simple, here’s how I see the use case:

  • you need to get something done, perhaps time sensitive
  • the something can be completed in 3-4 hours but needs focus
  • you know you need ‘alone time’ to make it happen
  • you know your focus limit is (roughly) 2 maybe 3 hours

Now the fun starts.  Book a flight (or train journey) to somewhere 2.5 to 3 hours away, returning later the same day.

For example, I have a couple of times this year gotten on the earliest (in this case 07:30) BA flight out of London and gone to Athens returning on the last flight (18:30) of the day.

Here are the rules:

  • you’ll need to book in a ‘comfortable’ travel class (‘business’, ‘first’, whatever that carrier calls it)
    • this is so you’ll have space, power, food and drink
  • you need to find somewhere where you can get at least 4 hours ‘on the ground’ before heading back
  • when you arrive, head out of the airport for whatever time you have
    • in my Athens example I have about 5 hours so I head to the city (~30mins) and have a bite to eat  (I do like Greek food…), take/make urgent calls, perhaps marvel at the Acropolis and then head back to the airport.  Total time roughly 3 hours
  • you must not combine this trip with other purposes – so no tacking on a day for meetings, etc.  This is about hitting one thing and hitting it hard
  • no overnight stays.  if you can’t get there and back in the same day then your destintation is wrong
  • make sure you finish up what you need to get done

Clearly this is not something to do for every ‘important’ task.

It’s for the really important stuff.

The ‘get the pitch pack completed for your VC meeting next week’ kind of stuff.  The ‘proposal for the biggest project your company has ever entertained’ kind of stuff.  The ‘super inspiring kick-off slide deck for the whole company summit’ kind of stuff.  I think you get the idea.

Need to get something done?  Try it.

Simple.