Despite more and more teams going remote, many of us still have to trudge back and forth to work every day. Although the national average is around 25 minutes of travel time, for some of us, this number comes up to an hour or even two of one-way commute. This adds up to a lot of time simply sitting in transit. Every second that you wait at a traffic single, on the train platform, or being jostled from side to side inside a crowded sub, seems like a minute lost from an already jam-packed day at work.
However, experts say that your daily trip to and from work doesn’t have to be a complete waste of time. With the help of some strategic planning, your commute time can actually go towards recharging and boosting your productivity. Whether you walk, bike, take a train, carpool or drive to work, you can make the most of that time. Whether you are interested in relaxing before the rat race commences for the day or in knocking out some work before arriving at your office, here are a few productive things you can do to turn a lengthy commute from being an exasperating time-eater to a productive and satisfying part of the day.
Mentally Prepare For The Day
Want a head start on your day so that you are better able to prepare for what lies ahead? Why not use your commute time to go through your to-list for the day or get ready for what’s on your calendar. If you have an important meeting scheduled early in the day, this is a perfect time to determine your position on the subject matter and the points you are going to cover. If you have an important presentation lined up for the day, you can go over the points in your head, or practice out loud to instill confidence in yourself. If you are gathering the nerves to talk to your boss about a salary raise or a possible promotion, practice the speech in your head to see how it would sound and put the finishing touches on.
In addition, you can plan the rest of your day outside the office during your commute time. Perhaps you can think up activities to keeps your kids engaged while you make the dinner, you can finalize the dinner menu in your head, you can make a list of all the items you will need to pick up on your way home from the grocery store, plan what to wear to an after-work event, decide what to do over the weekend. Until you don’t tackle these trivial matters, they will keep nudging you during work. After-all, a workday without distractions related to your after-work responsibilities is indeed a productive one.
Create A To-Do List
Your commute time presents the perfect opportunity to fine-tune your to-do list for the day or create one from scratch. By prioritizing the day’s responsibilities through a to-do list, you’re setting yourself up to have a more focused, organized, and productive workday. If you are driving or cycling to work and can’t actually pen down your to-do list, create one in your head. OR alternately, you can use a memo app or a voice recorder to record your musings, as long as it doesn’t steal your focus from the road!
Listen To Podcasts Or Audiobooks
Do you secretly wish to catch up on that true-crime podcast that your colleagues can’t seem to stop raving about, but you can’t justify cramming an hour of podcast into your already jam-packed life? Well, how about the 72 to Hammersmith at 8.02am? Seems like the perfect use to your hour-long commute! Not only that, your commute time presents you with an opportunity to unwind with a light-hearted audiobooks, a comedy podcast, or stay up to date with the latest business or tech news, even if you are driving. Regardless of your intention, mood or niche, there’s a podcast for it.
You can also buy many books in audio format via Amazon to improve yourself or learn new things while commuting. You’ll arrive replenished and ready to take on the day, at the office, rather than frustrated and grumpy after a tough morning commute. In addition, you can also buy a training program or an audio course on a specific topic, such as learning a foreign language. Who knows, you get a job at a company that prefers bilinguals.
Use The Commute Time To Learn Something New
A lot of people use the work commute to learn something new. I used my 40-hour commute to and from work to learn Spanish and even squeezed in some practice time as well. A lot of people have always wanted to learn a new language, whether it is to communicate with extended family, travel, or for the benefit of their profession. However, everything we think about taking action, we have the perfect excuse “I don’t have the time.” Well, now you do. Rather than splurge those precious hours listlessly staring out the window or dozing off, why not to sit down, read through your notes and learn something new. There are plenty of online language courses and YouTube videos that you can watch download straight to your laptop, tablet or phone, for on-the-go, fast learning.
Catch Up On Emails
Checking emails on your way to work early in the morning can set you up for a more efficient day when you arrive at the office. You don’t even have to respond to any email right away. Just taking out 15 minutes to go through your emails can give you an inkling of what to expect when to arrive at work and lets you plan ahead for the day. You can even organize your emails in order of priority for when you get to work. Not to mention, if you still have any pending emails at the end of your shift, not sit in a minute more than you have to? You can always handle any emails after work on your way home. A work of caution though; only read emails or text/type when taking the public transit.
Actually, Switch Off!
Are you a morning person? No? That’s ok! Your commute doesn’t have to include intricate journal entries, solving brain busters or compiling your entire to-do list for it to be productive. If you feel like you haven’t had enough sleep, or are feeling exhausted or burned out, the best thing you can do to yourself is to rest and recuperate to prepare for the long day ahead. Not only will this make you feel relaxed and calm, but also you will walk into work replenished and ready to take on any challenges. You can catch a snooze or watch a Netflix show, meditate, or just close your eyes and listen to some relaxing music. You will arrive to work in a much better mood.