The Upside of Downtime

| April 07, 2005

ACTIVITY TIPS

1. You are often your only source of positive reinforcement on the road. The real key to using time productively in East Gumshoe is learning to tap your inner resources.

2. If your hobbies are transportable, take along the materials you require to do them. Remember before you leave the house to take reading material or other stuff to pass the time productively.

3. Consider taking a distance learning course.

4. Think about your future and write down a plan. Make checklists to get you to your goals and check off each item as you accomplish it.

5. Downtime is the best time to take care of your body. Downtime is the time for personal discipline to kick in and help maintain your health and longevity.

6. Use the Internet if you are wired up. Research a subject in which you are interested.
7. Consider becoming a Trucker Buddy. Go to www.TruckerBuddy.org.

8. Boredom is the product of a lack of will power. Overcome your boredom, and you will develop a more positive outlook about life on the road.

As a professional driver, you are traveling in the wake of a full-throttle change in the way you run your truck.

The new hours-of-service rule allows you to drive 11 hours within a 14-hour time period, but it requires you to take two more hours of rest than in the past. In some cases, you may have a little more time on your hands, especially if you use the voluntary 34-hour restart provisions that resets your clock and gives you back the full 60/70. If you’re not home, you’ve got a long slog in a doggy bog.

This extra downtime doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you plan ahead. You can use it to relax or get something accomplished you’ve never had time for before, like getting a college degree, organizing your finances, working out to keep fit and healthy or finally sitting down to write that great American novel.

But you have to work at having a meaningful life on the road. Such discipline is much more easy to come by if you have had the foresight to bring along the items from home you may need to put your willpower to work.

Think about the activities you enjoy at home and find a way to bring them – or a version of them – with you on the road.

Some drivers, like former owner-operator Lance Gates, polish their trucks. “I used long layovers to clean my truck,” Gates says.

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