Making the Most of Your Work Commute: 7 Ways to Use Your Time Wisely
Work commutes can be a drag. Whether you’re stuck in traffic or squished into a crowded subway car, commuting for an hour or more every day can be emotionally and physically draining. However, instead of just wasting this time staring blankly out the window or scrolling through social media, there are several ways you can use this time to improve your productivity and well-being. Here are seven benefits of making the most out of your time during your dreaded daily commute:
1. You can use this time to think through specific issues
Do you have a certain problem you have been trying to solve in your personal life or an important business meeting that is coming up soon? This extra time during your commute is the perfect block of time to think through issues without being constantly interrupted. You might find a solution to your problems if you allow yourself to think about the problem without distractions. Dedicating time to a certain dilemma in your life first thing in the morning allows you to come up with new solutions since your brain is fresh.
2. You can learn to de-stress
Your commute may seem like the last place you’d find some solitude, but putting on some calming music which will help lower your blood pressure and allow you to arrive to work ready to face the day. If you are driving to work, add a little extra zen by spraying some relaxing scents, like lavender in your car to enhance the mood.
3. You can learn to be more mindful
Along the same lines as learning to find calm during your commute, you can also learn to practice being mindful on the way to work. The first step is to unplug and turn off your phone so that it does not create any distractions. If you are driving, focus on your surroundings, then acknowledge and accept your surroundings without negative thoughts (yes it’s hard!). If you are on public transportation, do the same thing with your fellow commuters and any frustrating scenarios that may come up. It takes practice and patience, but learning how to react to a stressful situation with a neutral and even positive approach can be beneficial for life in general.
4. You can stay up-to-date on the world news
Do you hardly feel like you have time to keep up with what is going on in your city, let alone the world? Download a news podcast that will keep you informed about international news, without you feeling like you need to only skim the global headlines before rushing out the door.
5. You can use this time to educate yourself
Who says learning stops after you finish your formal schooling? Find a podcast on a subject that you have always been curious about, but never took the time to learn more about. Ask your co-workers, friends, and family members for recommendations on their favorites as well. Learning something new in the morning also makes your brain more alert and ready to tackle any tasks at work with a fresh eye.
6. You can learn a new language
Have you ever wanted to learn a new language, but never seemed to find the time in your daily routine to practice? Use your commute as an opportunity to brush-up on your Italian or try out Arabic. There are plenty of apps and podcasts to download on your phone free of charge that can help you practice your verb tenses or pronunciation, whether you are stuck on the midtown train or in traffic.
7. You can “read” the book you have always wanted to
Have you always wanted to dive into a book, but always get sidetracked by Netflix or Instagram? Your commute is the perfect time to do this, whether you are in a car or the subway. If you are driving, audio books are a great solution and can keep you entertained for hours.
In conclusion, a work commute can be a complete waste of time or it can be an opportunity to improve yourself. Whether you pursue mindfulness, education, news, or self-improvement, make the most of your commute by using your time wisely. By doing so, you will arrive at work feeling more focused, more relaxed, and more productive. Remember, each moment counts – even the moments you spend on a crowded train or in gridlock traffic.