When I started writing this I had been on a train for nearly four hours as part of a manic five days last week, that had the Fourth NorthPR team hopping all over the UK; from Newcastle to Leamington Spa, London to Manchester. While the trips themselves were hugely productive, we found the journeys less so, with fewer plush red chairs and packets of peanuts than you might expect. ‘Boo hoo’ I hear you say, ‘a few train journeys here and there is all in a day’s work. Try commuting on the Tube!’
I contemplated my melodramatics as I puffed up a hill to the train station last Friday. With a laptop slung over one shoulder and two bags stuffed full of meeting notes on the other, I desperately tried to tell my brain to put one foot in front of the other while my lungs strongly protested. Having successfully thrown myself onto the train with 30 seconds to spare (apologies to the passengers who thought I was having a heart attack) we then managed to miss the next train.
No rush for this one. Rather, we watched it pass us on the platform, completely immersed in a live demo of The Smiths, urging the train to leave the station immediately in order to better hear Hand in Glove. Thanks for nothing Morrissey.
Once we were on the train, there was the stress of finding a Wi-Fi signal to send through a deadline email whilst being cut off on the phone from a journalist I’d been trying to get in touch with for the past week.
Train travel is not all bad. But it is important to address the potential limitations. I’ve learnt the hard way that leaving non-internet dependent work is the best option and have had some of my best paper-and-pencil brainstorms as a result. Maybe it’s something to do with travelling at 125mph that forces my brain to move a bit faster, but it really seems to speed up productivity. Similarly, when out for an office run this morning (and feeling very virtuous while we did it) the team whizzed through its to-do lists in a very speedy manner. Multi-tasking at its finest.
Despite the hold-ups and poor Wi-Fi, there seems to be a link between moving on the train and moving my brain. That said I am looking forward to staying firmly put in the office this week.
Lizzie is an Associate Director in the Manchester team