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Aug 20 2012

A Crossman Associates Guide to Working on Trains

If you commute around the country a lot by train, as we do, you may find the following guide useful for making the most of your time and ticket.

Pre-booking a seat

Skipping the task of finding your designated seat saves valuable time that can be spent finding yourself a great (unreserved) spot, and getting yourself into ‘work mode’.

Table or Isle

Ignoring any seat allocation leaves the decision up to you to go for an isle or table seat. The table seat initially seems to be the wisest choice for getting some work done, and is just that on a quite train, but you can be quickly swamped by other laptop users should the carriage become crowded. With the isle seat the table is yours, every square inch of it. Grabbing a seat at the back is always preferable so as to avoid being overlooked.

Getting some quiet time

If you do manage to negotiate yourself to the quiet carriage, I find that you never can quite guarantee a peaceful hour to get some solid typing done. The headphones that you actually insert into your ears (I use Sennheiser CX 300 Eco Black headphones) are fantastic for achieving absolute silence, but not so good should you wish to conduct some covert eavesdropping on interesting conversations, the choice is yours!

Time enough to work?

A journey time of at least an hour seems to be the minimum to make some real productive headway. By the time you’ve found the perfect spot to work, set up your laptop, settled into your surroundings with headphones plugged in, it’s good to have at least 40-50min ahead to start making some progress.

The alternative

Alternatively, buy yourself a coffee and the paper and relax as you hurtle effortlessly towards your destination, occasionally glancing up to view the British countryside glide by. You may even find, as I often do, that your best ideas come from doing absolutely nothing.


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