Lots of people commute everyday from home to the office and sometimes for long hours. The commute is seen by many as a waste of time and often as a needed compromise to get a good job and a valuable place of living. Commute hours and days accumulate over time and they might become a relevant part of an entire lifetime. Hence the question – how can we get the most out of the daily commute?
There are lots of things that can be done during the commute time. It all depends on the way people commute though. Some people might drive hence need hands-free activities while others use public transportation and might not have access to telephone line and/or internet. No matter how people commute there is always something that can be done to make it more productive and worthwhile.
The next section underlines our top ten activities to do while commuting.
This is the most evident activity that could help improving the day. Most podcasts are either educational or entertaining. No matter which one people choose, the important is to plan for it and make sure that the podcast is entirely downloaded so that there is no need for connection… and don’t forget battery life! We love the TED Talks conference podcasts but this is a personal choice.
It is never a good time for cleaning up. People have always higher priority things to do hence why not taking advantage of the commute? This might relate to cleaning up your bag, your old style agenda, and your photos on the mobile phone or even the hundreds of e-mails that are waiting for you in the inbox.
For the people that leverage “comfortable” public transportation, the commute could be a good time to make drafts. It is actually the perfect time to draft that e-mail or note that requires some attention and that needs sleeping over to make sure not to create disasters. Some might want to use this time to draft blog posts, articles and even books – we did write the book “Watches-N-Time” entirely during commute time.
During commute time people are free from any office or home constraint. Their mind is free to wander around and they can think thoroughly through. This is the time to ideate and innovate. Ideas, however, disappear fast hence make sure to have a piece of paper or a mobile phone to take note before too late.
5. Read & Listen
The commute is the “decompressing chamber” between office and home (or vice versa). Every person has his/her own way to transition from office to home. Some like to listen to music others might read a book or play cross words and Sudoku. The important is to find the activity that helps you the most in transitioning and start fresh the new chapter in the daily routine.
6. To Do List
The famous (or infamous) “to do list” is also part of our top ten. We do believe on the “to do list” – not necessarily on a very detailed and complicated one but at least on a quick and rough collection of priorities. This can be easily done on a commute and can dramatically help achieving what people are aiming at. In this context see also our other chapter “100 time management tips and techniques”.
7. Dream & Plan
Routine is an ugly beast. It takes our time and minds and we often forget to dream and dream big. While commuting there is nothing wrong on dreaming. This is the time to unleash your creative mind and think about the infinite possibilities. But a dream is just a dream unless people start drafting a plan to materialize it so leverage the commute to dream and plan for it.
Talk to a stranger. During commute (if on public transportation) people have the opportunity to meet people with very different background and perspectives. Those are the most enriching encounters both from a personal as well as business perspective. One never knows who he/she might be talking to and the incredible amount of insight and joy he/she might get from that unexpected conversation. Dare to talk!
Close your eyes and think about what you see and listen during your commute. Most people remember only few things. People are generally so immerse in their thoughts or other activities that forget to pay attention to the world around them. There are tons of things happening and things that people can learn from the world around them via just observing with attention. Both people, events, nature, sounds and even objects can be a source of inspiration and learning. Do look carefully.
Life is like a train, we jump in and we keep going often without wondering where we are going. Where are you going? Is this the life you want to live? Leverage the commute time to think and (re)evaluate what you are doing. Life is too short to realize only at the end that we were heading in the wrong direction.
Obviously there is even more that can be done during the commute time but the above are our top ten. Feel free to share your top ten or build on the above in our comment section. Happy commute!