Unless you work from home, you have a commute in one form or another to work every day, twice a day. Regardless of how long or short your commute is, it still sucks time out of your day. According to the Washington Post, the average commute in the US is a little over 25 minutes and approximately 1.7 million Americans spend 90 minutes or more each day commuting. What do you do during your (non-driving) commute? Do you sleep, read, or just sit idly?vA lot of it depends on how you actually commute.
If you drive, you probably won’t be able to do anything but keep your eyes on the road. But if you commute by public transportation, there are many things you can be doing to maximize your time. Here are a few:
1) Read a book
It’s hard to make time to read during the day but it’s something we should all do more. It’s one of the best ways to grow and expand our knowledge. Spend your commute reading the newspaper or a new book. You’ll be up to spend on what’s going on in the world and you’ll also have a few more conversation starters when you’re stuck in an awkward social situation. Technology also makes reading a lot easier nowadays. You can throw everything into your Kindle instead of lugging books around, so you really have no excuse.
2) Listen to Podcasts
Many people spend some part of their commute listening to music, which can be productive on its own since music can get us really pumped up and ready to take on another day. However, an even better way to spend your commute is listening to a podcast. There are literally podcasts for every interest – sports, finance, fashion, technology. You name it and you’ll probably be able to find someone talking about it. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge and learn something new. Podcasts can be easily loaded on your phone or streamed.
Writing can be a creative outlet. You don’t necessarily have to be writing poems or novels but try writing a daily journal. It’s a great way to record everything that’s going on in your life and help you remember any special moments (or frustrating ones). You’ll also improve your writing and grammar skills while you’re at it.
4) Check your emails
Get a head start on your emails before you head into the office. Your commute can be a good time to start checking emails and responding to the important ones. It’ll save you a little extra time before you get in. Be careful not to send out too many though – it’s not fun being on the receiving end with 20 new emails right as you get into the office.
Your commute can be a good time to reflect and refocus too. Think about the past day and the day ahead. What did you accomplish yesterday? What do you want to get done today? Spending a few minutes thinking about this in the morning can really get you started on the right foot.
If you have to commute for more than 10 minutes each way, there are a lot of small things you can be doing to make your time a little more productive. Try something new every week and see what works for you.