If you are an office goer, chances are, you spend a portion of your waking hours traveling to the office. An average Indian worker spends about 44 minutes commuting for work, according to statistics by Statista. Whether it’s by public transport or you drive yourself to work, an unavoidable work commute can only be dealt with by making the best of it. With all that commute time at hand, one can bring to the front burner, the smaller things that use up our time. While some of these aren’t possible while driving, here are ways to help you use your commute to work be more productive –
Podcasts and audiobooks are one of the best ways to consume information when you are finding it difficult to make time. If you want to learn a new language, with apps like Duolingo and Memrise, you can easily do that. If you are already taking a course for a language, supplement it by listening to a podcast in that language. For your news fix or opinion pieces, you can listen to podcasts by leading publications and media. Whether you want to keep yourself updated about industry trends, there’s a podcast for almost every topic under the sun. Download app for streaming podcasts like Google Podcast. You can try watching an informational video on YouTube or use your commute time to learn through a video course. If you use public transport, you can even read a book or the morning paper.
Alternatively, you can use the time to watch something completely unrelated to work and your industry. A comedy show on Netflix to a video on how are rockets powered, the time spent not thinking of work will help you to begin your work on a more upbeat and fresh note. On the other hand if you do it while coming back from work, it can help you unwind.
Ironically, making a to-do list often happens to be in our to-do list. The work commute is great way to clear smaller tasks out of the way. Draft that email or make that call, that’ll eat your precious time at work. The morning commute can be used to prioritise the tasks for the day. Use it break down large chunks of tasks into smaller bite-sized ones so that they are achievable. Put in reminders on your phone, if you have to contact someone or take a medication at a particular time. Even tasks like online shopping, recharging your mobile, paying your bills can all be done while commuting.
Whether it’s to come up with ideas for the morning meeting, on if it’s an ongoing project you are working on, traveling time is a good way to get those brain wheels moving. If you have a commute routine, you must be on autopilot by now and instead of deciding which route to take, which bus/train to catch you can focus on tasks that require active thinking.
Meditating and self-reflecting
If you already listen to music through a headset, why not give meditation a try? Instead of taking out time separately for this activity in the confines of your home, you can do it on your commute. You can use apps that offer guided meditation like The Mindfulness App and Headspace, or you could just put on some calm, soothing and relaxing musing and let it wash over your thoughts. Writing down your active thoughts is one of the ways to calm them down. If you have moved on from the classic old school way of journaling, try typing in your phone. A host of journaling apps like Journey and Day One makes it easy to maintain a journal on the move.
The focus should be on making the most of what we have. Time is a currency, which we can’t afford to waste. Incorporating effective ways to utilise the commute time, is a superior way of using it. Initially, the payback may not be apparent but over a period of time, you’ll realize that you’ve accomplished more that you set out to.