The morning and evening commute is considered by many to be the worst part of the work day. In fact, a long commute is one of the best predictors of whether someone will stay at a job for an extended period of time. Sitting in traffic, riding shoulder-to-shoulder on public transportation, dealing with strangers; it can all be a little too much to bear at times. But it doesn’t have to be that way. More and more people are learning that their commute can actually be a productive part of their day. And when people are productive they are much happier. Here are some tips to make your commute more productive:
One the most underutilized forms of entertainment and learning is the podcast. There is a virtually limitless variety of podcasts available. You can find pretty much any subject including health, science, technology, humor, food, do-it-yourself tutorials, business, and even your favorite radio shows. If you have an interest, chances are there is a podcast for you waiting to be downloaded.
What better way to spend your time in traffic then listening to a book? New York Times best sellers, last years must read, or that literary classic you never got around to reading can all be found as an audio book. Listening to a good story is driving entertainment at its best.
If your company operates in different time zones you may want to get some things done while you are travelling to and from work. Schedule some of your calls during your drive time and not only will this make your commute more productive, it will free up some of your time in the office as well. If you don’t want to let work expand in to your commuting time then give your mom, your sister or brother, or a friend a call. Catch up with someone you love.
Technology has transformed the way we consume media. The iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Kobo are all ways to carry around and read multiple magazines, newspapers, books, and pretty much any other type of literature that is published in an electronic format. Each device has it’s attributes and drawbacks but one thing is for sure, they can make a long commute on public transportation much more productive and enjoyable without lugging all those books around.
Time to Think
Many of the best ideas come to us outside of work when we allow our minds to settle and thoughts to flow. Find a seat on your train, subway, or bus and just relax and think for a while. Write your thoughts down. You might think of a solution to a vexing problem at work, an idea for the next great American novel, or create a to do list of home improvement projects for the weekend. No matter what, you’ll have used your commuting time wisely. Just start writing and you will be surprised at what comes out.
It’s so easy to keep your head down and go through your regular commuting routine and we are all a little shy about meeting people. But the fact is, you never know who’s going to be sitting or standing next to you. If you are on the same bus or train each day you’ll probably see many of the same people. All it often takes is a smile and a hello or an honest compliment about someone’s shoes, coat, or watch to start up a conversation. Networking can happen anywhere and there are many stories about regular card games or book groups on the train that evolve from commuter friendships.
This is obviously only for those taking public transportation! Studies continually show that we are pretty sleep deprived as a nation, so don’t overlook your commute as a chance to catch a few extra zzz’s. Be sure you set an alarm or doze lightly enough that you won’t miss your stop though.
Podcasts and Audio Books
These are great for commuting on public transportation as well.