Article by guest Ninja Blogger – Jasper Wise
“Jasper is passionate about small business development, finance, crowdfunding and digital media. You can follow him on Twitter.”
How long do you spend commuting to and from work? Whether it be 20 minutes or 3 hours,
While you might not be able to get those hours back, there are a number of things you can do to maximise your commute time. Strap yourself in, because here’s the 20 best things you should do to stay productive on your way to work.
1 – Work up a sweat
Swap the stick shift for some sneakers and get fit on your daily commute. 26.6% of Australians surveyed said they walk to work. Nothing quite beats the feeling of an exercise-induced endorphin rush, especially if you work in an office or don’t move around much during the day. It might not cut down on your travel time, but exercising your way to work will leave you healthier, happier and more alert throughout the day. Check out Fitbit, Jawbone UP or Google Fit for a few options to track your fitness goals.
2 – Set daily to-do lists
Some people prefer to organise their task list before work, others prefer to do it in the evening. Either way, the commute is the perfect opportunity to update the to-do list, allowing you to hit the ground running once you arrive at the office. Try Google Keep if you’re looking for a flexible app that works just as well on your phone as in the browser.
Email is the bane of any office worker’s existence. It seems like filtering through the never ending torrent of meeting requests, office memos and invites takes up more time than actually doing work. The morning commute can be the perfect opportunity to fire off a few strategic emails and get ahead of the day. In the evenings, responding to those last few afternoon requests makes it look like you’re putting in the extra hours when really you’re already half way home.
4 – Catch up on the latest bestsellers
Reading is good for you, but finding time to engage with novels in our increasingly distracted world isn’t always easy. Invest in a dedicated eReader or get back into paperbacks. Both are also easier on the eyes than a phone or tablet screen if you’ve been staring at computers all day, and you won’t get distracted by messages and app notifications.
5 – Centre yourself
Every job comes with its own stresses and pain points. Sometimes the best way to stay focused and improve productivity is to stop the busy work and focus on what’s important. What are your goals for today, and how can you achieve them? Apps like Personal Zen can help you relax and get back down to earth.
6 – Learn a language
If you drive to work, consider downloading language learning podcasts or streams. Practicing out loud is a lot easier in the privacy of your own car. Try Duo Lingo to help you master the language of love, and then book your ticket to France. Voila!
Got a sales meeting looming, or perhaps you run the group stand up in the mornings? Use your commute to mentally prepare and practice your presentation skills so you can arrive with confidence in your capabilities.
8 – Play puzzle games
There are plenty of apps available that are designed to “train your brain”, enhance memory function and mental agility. You might also want to invest in a Sudoku or crossword book to exercise your mind and allow yourself some time away from the screen.
9 – Stay in touch with news and current events
Social media bombards Australians with click bait content, but there’s better ways to stay attached to the news of the globe. Subscribe to your favourite online newspapers and magazines and use your commute time to catch up on current affairs. Check out Feedly for a good solution.
10 – Don’t rush
Being productive isn’t about speed, it’s about effectiveness. Think about your daily commute: how many people are rushing about, speeding, bumping into each other and just generally creating stress for themselves and the people around them? Slow your pace, relax, and don’t let yourself become caught up in the chaos.
11 – Leave early
The everyday routine might be… well… routine, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find time to stop and smell the roses. Enjoy your travel time, leave home early and give yourself more control over the route and the stops you make on your commute.
12 – Organise your team
If you’re a manager or team leader take advantage of the relative peace and quiet on your commute to start strategically organising your team for the day. That way, everybody’s day becomes a little more mapped-out, important tasks can get ticked off, and you’ll buy yourself a bit of breathing room.
13 – Study and get certified
Thanks to the miracle of online learning and distance education, that certificate you need for your next promotion is only a few online tutorials away. Most major universities now offer online education, and if you can get your employer to cover part of the cost, even better.
14 – Talk to yourself
No, you’re not crazy. Sometimes talking things out with yourself (or at least thinking them) can help straighten out solutions to complex problems, or just help leave the work behind on your home commute.
15 – Become goal oriented
Set and measure your goals with an app like Coach.me. The free version is probably all you need (it lets you set targets in both your personal life and career). If you’re feeling especially ambitious, the app also lets you hire a professional coach to help you achieve your goals.
16 – Learn more with podcasts
Podcasts are the perfect combination of escapism and education. Think of them like a focused radio show, informative, entertaining, and with plenty to choose from. Stitcher can help you make playlists of your favourites. Try the following podcasts to get started:
17 – Carpool with colleagues
If you can make it work, carpooling will not only save you money, but give you and your colleagues a chance to catch up and plan ahead for the day. It’s also a much better option environmentally, as opposed to each of you driving.
18 – Take care of the shopping and meal plans
There are times when preparing meals at the end of a long day will be the last thing on your mind. Rather than fall into a bad habit of ordering fast food, take advantage of your commute and plan your meals for the week. There are a lot of grocery delivery services available, which you can also use your travel time to plan and order. You can also plan out your diet with apps like Eat This Much. By the time you get to the supermarket after work you’ll know exactly what you’re buying and cooking for the week.
19 – Look for your next move
If you’re feeling like you need a change of pace, use your commute to start the search for your next challenge. Brush up your resume, write a cover letter and update your LinkedIn without cutting into your work (or home) time.
20 – Listen to some music
It’s been scientifically proven that listening to music can have a therapeutic effect on both your mind and body. A morning music ritual during your commute is a great way to start your day off in a positive way, and keep your busy mind from wandering back into the worries of yesterday. Spotify has some great curated playlists for every kind of mood.
So next time you’re stuck in peak hour, don’t get yourself into a jam, but try one or more of these 20 helpful tips to make the most of your morning or afternoon commute.