Many people around the world find themselves asking the same question each day: “How long will it take me to get to work?”
For most people in the workforce, commuting is inevitable. So how can you make the most of this time, and use your daily commute to serve you in a positive way? Here are some ideas.
1. Tackle Your To-Do List
Why not take care of some undesirable tasks during your commute? Sitting on a train or bus can be ideal for getting all sorts of planning done, especially if you own a smartphone or tablet. Create and manage a digital to-do list — even your grocery shopping list — with an app like Apple Reminders or Google Keep. You can also take some time to review your weekly budget and make sure you’re on track. And as a bonus, if you finalize your to-do list before you arrive home in the evening, you can enjoy your family or leisure time more fully.
2. Manage Your Calendars
Take some time to plan your days ahead and review upcoming events — both at work and in your personal life. By taking a closer look at your schedule, you can manage your time better, balance work and home obligations and make sure you’re better prepared for what’s ahead – which can help you beat stress and stay ahead of the game.
3. Get Inspired
Think about your commute as an opportunity to focus on enjoyment and relaxation. You can spend time sitting in a car, train or bus listening to music, an audio book or a podcast. And as long as you’re taking public transportation, you can also dedicate time to reading — books, newspapers, blogs and magazines — or perhaps doing some writing yourself.
If you’re looking for an “escape” from your daily commute, use this time to research different travel destinations. Read travel blogs and websites to learn about new places to visit, and use booking apps to compare flight and lodging costs in real time.
4. Learn a New Language
If you’ve ever considered studying a foreign language, either for pleasure or to expand your reach in the workplace, your commute might be the perfect time to finally make it happen. Finding time to learn a new language may be considered a luxury, but many new apps and services make the learning process easier and more accessible. Duolingo is a free app available on iPhone or Android that gamifies the learning process and offers quicker, “bite sized” lessons.
If you’re driving to work, tools like Rosetta Stone and Living Language provide audio services perfect for listening on the go.
5. Socialize and Network
As long as you’re not driving, walking or cycling to and from work, you can spend some time communicating with family, friends and colleagues. While it may not be appropriate to take phone calls while riding public transportation, you can easily catch up with others via text message or email. You can also take this time to network, utilizing services like LinkedIn to find new connections, or other companies and vendors to collaborate with.
If you are driving, see if you can find a neighbor or someone through work that you can carpool with. Alternating who drives each day gives you a much-needed break, and you’ll also have someone to talk to if you do end up getting stuck in any traffic.
Use these tips to start thinking about your daily commute as a new opportunity, and not just a nuisance. Make the most of this time each day, and you’ll find new ways to increase productivity and stay happier and healthier.
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