Features - Features
Making Time Work for You
Many areas of our professional and on-the-road personal lives require planning to have enough time available to do what we need and want to do. Professionally we have to find time to do a run, complete paperwork, maintain the truck and be awake to check call among others. Personal things that we have to make time for while on the road include laundry, meals, showers and sleep.
In logging, everyone should do a recap summary every day. I prefer using the grid in the front of the log book cover to do this rather than the daily recap on the log sheet itself. This allows me to see at a glance how many hours I will gain as each eighth day cycles past. That eighth day amount is invaluable in making my time work for me.
Working with your dispatcher is important too. When I am back to work after home time, (I try to avoid doing restarts on the road) and am nearing the 70th hour in the 8-day limit, I will tell dispatch to either schedule an appointment to allow me some extra time, or will ask for a short run. This allows me to play out the last couple of days with hours in each day. This makes more sense to me than to shut down for 34 hours and end up with zeros when you least want them. I don't know about you, but I would much rather do my sitting at the house rather than on the road.
Once I reach eight days, I keep check on how many hours I will regain at midnight a couple of days back behind the eighth day. If I have a day with short hours in it, I will run perhaps 1-2 hours short on the longer hour days to accumulate some hours to go on that short hour day. By doing a running recap, I can also plan ahead for days to do laundry and such.
The best time to do laundry is through the week during the day, or the wee hours of the morning, but then that brings up finding a parking place during the tightest parking availability time. I use my recap to figure out when I can run late night during a trip so I have available time during the day. This also works for shower times too. Most people run during the day leaving a shorter shower line in the late morning or early afternoon than in the mornings or evenings. This is, of course, for drivers who do not have regular layover time on the road.
For drivers who have regular layover time, waiting on loads/dispatch/oversized load restrictions, etc., it is easier to schedule time to take care of business--both professional and personal. These types of drivers can do laundry, paperwork, clean the truck, etc., during their regular down time.
Alas, not all drivers do this. Recently I heard of a driver who sat waiting for a load to be dispatched for five days. After getting a two day run load, this driver had to tell dispatch that they had to have a day off after delivery to do their laundry. Another driver didn't do their recap so they knew how many hours they had to do a run in, only figuring it out after they had picked up the load that they didn't have enough hours available during the run time, thereby causing a lot of problems for the shipper and dispatch.
Managing time wisely while on the road makes everyone's job and lives easier. It makes preplanning a run easier if you know how many hours you have coming up over the time of the run so your appointments can be scheduled. You know where you are going to fuel/sleep/eat and, of course, take care of any personal business you might have. Dispatchers won't have to cancel preset loads if you inform them when your hours will be getting short in advance and you can adjust your running time so that you can run legally and with less stress.
All and all, a little record keeping each day of your hours, looking back and figuring ahead, will give you ample time to take care of all of your business.
Ya'll be safe out there!