Handsfree Blog Post from behind the wheel!

by The Darwinian Doctor

Today’s post is a quick note that I dictated to my phone while using the Autopilot function on my Tesla.

On the days when I am on call in the southern part of Orange County, my drive back home to Los Angeles can be an epically long journey. This is even with carpool lane stickers and a Fastrak transponder, which gives me access to the fast lane on the I-110 freeway.

I usually use my commute to listen to podcasts, music, or strategize about my short and long-term goals. However, lately I’ve been feeling pretty antsy on these long drives.  After some introspection, I’ve concluded that it’s a function of a perceived lack of time. I feel like I have an endless supply of excellent blog topics but little time to actually create the written content.  Between my full time job and my kids, there just isn’t much time left over for me to sit and write. I’m certain it’s a common complaint amongst working bloggers, but it’s no less true.

So today, I’m going to try something new and dictate this post from the road while driving. I’m going to clean it up later to fix any mistranslations and run-ons, but it’ll still likely have a more “stream of consciousness” vibe than most of my other posts.

I’m using the dictation function on my iPhone. It’s pretty annoying because it seems to shut off automatically after about 30 seconds of dictation. But as I review this dictation, I can see that it’s fairly accurate, and reflective of an impressive leap forward in voice translation technology.

I am noting that the mental effort to actually string together a coherent sentence while driving is a bit distracting. Thus, I’m only going to try this dictation-while-driving technique when I have my car in Autopilot driving mode. That way, if a particularly poignant sentence steals too much of my attention, I won’t absentmindedly smash into the car in front of me.

As I mentioned above, the biggest barriers to growing this blog is finding time to write. In the mornings, I aim to be on the road by about 6AM to be on time to start my workday at 7AM.  I’ve tried waking up earlier in the style of “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod, and I lasted for about one week before I collapsed from sleep deprivation.  No matter what time I have to get up in the morning, I have a hard time getting to bed before 10 or 11PM.

On my operative days, there’s no such thing as a lunch break.  I’ll nibble on food, answer patient messages or review lab results in between my cases.  On my clinic days, I thankfully have a built-in break for lunch, but again, much of the time is spent calling patients or tracking down a meal.

When I’m done for the day, I drive for about an hour, arrive home, then help send the kids off to sleep. This leaves me with about two hours before I’m off to sleep myself. I’ve tried to use this time to write, but my brain is quite mushy after 5PM and I have a hard time focusing.  Also, this is the only time in the weekday when my wife and I can talk without kids hanging off our legs.

So therefore, my biggest untapped resource in terms of creating blog content or writing is the time I spend in the car. So I’m going to be giving this “dictating while driving” thing a try for a while. I’ll let you know how it goes and I’ll indicate which posts have been semi-dictated and later cleaned up on the laptop.


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