Lieback’s Lounge, May 2019

Part of my long-term vision in life is to master the optimization of time and productivity. The reason is simple—I want to complete more quality work in less time so I can have additional time for my family and passions such as motorcycle riding.

Mandatory downtime is a large portion of optimizing time and productivity, and I’d argue it’s one of the most important elements (the others being sleep and health). It sounds counter-intuitive to stop doing something to be more productive, but our brains can only handle so much.

Writers especially learn this after a few years of producing high amounts of words—the quality begins to suffer. Then you learn how to walk away and refresh, and suddenly creativity returns, usually at peak levels.

Lieback's Lounge: Optimize Productivity and Happiness Via Two WheelsMotorcycles are the main means of my mandatory downtime. I block time throughout the week for a quick ride to split up the day and get the creativity back, whether it’s a half-hour rip at full throttle on one of the Ducatis, or an hour-long off-road thrashing on the KTM 1190 Adventure R. The ride doesn’t matter; it’s something deeper that pulls me away from work and problems because I’m fully focused on the task at hand. And that task is riding at my best ability.

Put simply, optimally riding a motorcycle takes full focus. Riding is inherently dangerous, especially if you’re addicted to mastering various styles at more aggressive paces from sport to dirt to supermoto. To enjoy a lifetime of motorcycles, one must be fully focused on the ride. Riders must be aware of everything, whether it’s a tree, a wild animal crossing a path while you’re riding on a single track at 70 mph, or the car veering over the yellow lane on your favorite backcountry road.

Proficiency on a motorcycle means mastering the art of focus—intentional focus, that is, and not the distracting focus that occurs when we target fixate or lose our attention to beautiful scenery. This equates to the same distracting focus while not riding, including endless emails and interruptions by coworkers. One who masters the art of focus will benefit, not only as a better rider, but in overall life, from being able to focus on creating more quality work to closer relationships with friends and loved ones. It’s a truly reciprocal process.

This takes me back to mandatory downtime to optimize productivity. Motorcycles require a pure focus on the moment, which quickly gets us away from work or other tasks in everyday life. This focus naturally rejuvenates the mind, increasing clearer thinking and creativity, which combines to help us produce greater amounts of work in less time, and with less stress.

This then leaves more energy for other passions in life like, um, more motorcycle riding. It’s weird how a motorcycle journalist like me can write about motorcycles all day, then go for a ride to get away from the workload and refresh. The process baffles me; most people leave a job and do nothing related.

Once I twist that throttle another world opens—one that truly doesn’t suck. Motorcycles are the backbone of my happiness in both professional and personal life. I’ve worked long days writing about them for the past decade, and long days riding them for pure enjoyment for the past two decades. And now I can attribute increased productivity to them. Wonder what’s next?

Photo by Bryan Finch of 572 Creations