Your commute doesn’t have to be the worst part of your day…
Whether it’s because of how long it takes, how busy it is, or the frustration you feel from delayed trains and standstill traffic – your journey to and from work can often induce stress rather than relaxation. Luckily, there a number of ways to turn it around – which could not only help boost your productivity, but also improve your general wellbeing.
We’ve already covered some key commuting dos and don’ts, but here are six productive things to do on your way to and from work:
Work on a side project
Finding the time to work on something you’re passionate about (that isn’t part of your job) can sometimes seem like an impossible task.
And with work, your social life, family commitments, and general life admin taking up your time, you’re probably left asking yourself if you’ll ever get around to starting that blog you’ve always talked about.
Well, not unless you start using your commute more wisely, that is.
Whether you’ve always wanted to start freelancing, you’re looking to spend more time on your art, or you have a personal project you want to work on – your journey to and from work could be the perfect place to do it.
N.B. Small projects recommended. Juggling an easel on a busy train is not ideal.
Listen to podcasts or audiobooks
So you really want to listen to that true-crime podcast people at work keep talking about, but can’t quite justify spending an hour of your day listening to one.
You have to start somewhere, right? Well, how about the 72 to Hammersmith at 8.02am?
Not only could you use your commute to stay up-to-date with the latest news, tech, business, you could also unwind with a comedy podcast or a light-hearted audiobook. No matter what your niche, mood, or intention, there’s a podcast for it.
The best part? You can do it with your eyes closed.
Write, draw or colour
There’s a reason colouring is no longer just for kids.
Not only is it scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, it also helps your brain to focus in a similar way to meditation.
So whether you use an app to colour with the tip of your finger, or you ride the bus armed with your favourite colouring book – it could be a great way to get your brain ready for the day ahead. And also, practice your ability to keep within the lines.
Writing in a journal, blogging, or drawing also boasts similar benefits.
Your commute is the perfect opportunity to learn something new.
We aren’t saying you need to learn molecular physics on the central line. But you could be using simple techniques to train your brain without even realising it.
For example, there are a wide range of (actually fun) apps and mobile games that allow you to wake up your brain and develop your mental skills – whether it’s through numbers games, word puzzles, or even by listening to educational podcasts.
Or, if you want to learn something specific, online courses could be a great way to do it. Many will provide the option to download course material (from videos and tutorials, to text and audiobooks) straight to your phone, tablet, or laptop, making learning on-the-go fast and easy.
This way, you’ll be able to gain new skills, without sacrificing your free time. What’s not to like?
Plan your day
OK, so nobody wants to start work before they even get to work.
But the truth is, you could actually get a head start on your day, without doing any real work.
By simply checking your emails, getting yourself up to speed with your calendar, or writing a quick to-do-list, that 9am start could become a whole lot less daunting.
Just make sure you don’t do too much.
Organising emails and planning your day is fine, but forcing yourself to reply to hundreds of messages or put extra work in on a project you’re carrying out is probably the wrong way to commute, and the right way to get burned out.
Actually switch off
Not a morning person? That’s OK.
Your commute doesn’t have to involve brain busters or journal entries to be productive. After all, if you’re feeling rundown or tired, the most productive thing you can do in the long run is rest and recuperate.
Not only will this make you feel calm and relaxed during your journey, it’ll also mean you can go into work with enough energy to start the day.
This could mean anything from reading a book or watching the latest Netflix show, to listening to music, meditating, or having a nap. You know, providing you’re not one of those people who uses their fellow commuters as pillows. #awkward.
And if all else fails? You can always just focus on avoiding making eye contact with the person across from you.
Let’s face it, you’re going to be doing that anyway.
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