How to Make Your Commute More Productive

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Do you regularly commute to work or school?How to Make Your Commute More Productive

Are you looking for some ways to make the most of your time while traveling?

In this post, I offer several ways for you to make your daily commute a bit more productive.

Many of these tips are geared more towards those who take mass transit, such as a bus, ferry, subway, plane, train, and so on.

I have included some tips that can be used by people who drive, bike, or walk for their commute.

Make a list.

A commute is the perfect time to create a list.

And who says your list-making sessions have to be boring?

Yes, you could create a to-do list of tasks for the day, but why not jazz things up a bit?

You could create a list of sites you’d like to visit on your upcoming cross-country vacation, brainstorm ideas for a new craft project, or jot down a few birthday gift ideas for family and friends.

Listen to a podcast.

Podcasts are great ways to pass the time. There are podcasts for all types of topics and subjects, so there’s really something for everyone. You could catch up on world news, learn about the world of anime, pick up a couple of new knock-knock jokes, listen to sports commentary, or be inspired by a motivational speech. One of the easiest ways to get started is to look at top reviewed podcasts, or do searches for your favorite subjects, topics, or hobbies. Then, download the podcasts and enjoy!

Take a moment to relax.

Relax during a commute? Yup, you read that correctly. Seriously though, if you’re constantly fighting to get some personal time for yourself, your commute offers a chunk of time, with no immediate demands of your attention. Go ahead and silence your cell phone and log out of email so you won’t be distracted. Go ahead and let your mind wander. Meditate. Look out the window. Daydream. Take a deep breath and just r-e-l-a-x.

Solve a problem.

Whether you’re sitting on a train or a bus, a commute is the perfect time to solve a problem or make a decision. You’re not distracted by work or home duties, so you can clearly focus on the task at hand. You can draw up a simple pro/con chart on a piece of paper, or on your smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Challenge yourself to come up with at least ten pros and cons during your commute, and make a final decision by the time you arrive at your destination.

Listen to an audiobook.

Can’t take your hands off the wheel? Try listening to an audiobook. Write down a couple of books you’ve been meaning to read, and see if they are available on audiobook. You can also do some searching for newly released titles or special presentations of books. And widen your knowledge: besides listening to fiction, you could listen to non-fiction books, or listen to audio versions of stage plays, magazines, journals, or interviews.    

Find a different route.

You take the same streets to work, day in and day out. If things are becoming a tad boring, you could spice things up by challenging yourself to find a couple of different commute routes. For example, is there a more direct route you could take to work or home? What if you turned left, instead of right at that intersection? What if you got off at a bus stop ahead of your normal stop and walked the rest of the way? You’ll never know unless you try, so get out there and see what you can find.

Declutter your smart phone.

Chances are, you’ve got a lot of miscellaneous stuff on your phone. Why not take some time to clean things out? Delete unnecessary texts and photos, clear data caches, remove old or expired apps, and eliminate unnecessary emails. When it comes to email, you might even decide to completely delete defunct or non-necessary email accounts from your phone. When you’re finished, spend your time organizing apps or customizing your phone’s home page to your heart’s content.

Take in your surroundings.

We can become so accustomed to our commutes, that we really don’t see what’s in actually in our paths. Try taking a good hard look at your commute route. Challenge yourself to open your eyes to what’s in front of you. What notable landmarks do you pass? Who knows, you might discover a new Chinese restaurant, a beautiful city park, a cute little boutique, or learn to appreciate how unique your commute route really is.

Practice a foreign language.

Thanks to technology, there are several opportunities available for you to study a new language. How do you want to learn or practice? If you’re new to a language and are looking to learn vocabulary, you could download a flash-card app, or listen to audio language lessons. If you’re at a more intermediate or advanced level, you could brush up on your reading skills by reading a non-English newspaper, or brush up on your listening skills via music or commentary in the language of your choice.

How about you? How do you pass the time during your commute? Are you going to try any of these tips? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.