The tediously long commutes many of us take to work and back every day seem like such a waste of time. And usually they are. But as we here at Monese believe time is one of the most valuable assets a person can have, we put together a list of things to do on your commutes to make the best use of them.
1. Plough through your email
If you have Internet connection, you can work though the email that have miraculously clogged your inbox overnight. If you don’t have time to answer them, just sort them – delete the junk and flag the important ones. By the time you get to work you’ll know exactly what’s on your plate for the day and you can get right to it.
2. Read the book you’ve been wanting to read, but ‘haven’t had the time to’
You know the book you’ve always wanted to read? The one that everybody is talking about but you’ve been too busy to get around to? Have it in your bag and carry it with you for those long trips. Unless it’s a copy of “War and Peace” in which case we suggest you opt for the Kindle version to avoid throwing your back out.
3. Practice a new skill
Whether it’s solving the Rubik’s Cube or learning to crochet, find a skill you’d like to excel at, and practice it on your commutes. If you can use a computer, you could even learn to code or take advantage of the countless online courses offered in just about any topic you could imagine.
4. Make a shopping list
Browse for new recipes and make a shopping list. Planning your meals ahead saves time and money, not to mention helps you advance your culinary skills. Out with the pot noodles and in with, shall we say, chicken cordon bleu?
5. Research better service providers
Say you’ve been thinking about switching your mobile phone provider. Being stuck on a bus is an excellent excuse to do a bit of research on other companies and their pricing to see if there’s a better fit for your needs. You might end up cutting your bills significantly, or getting a better service for the same price.
Commuting tends to be stressful by nature – you’re more focused on the end point and what awaits you when you get there, rather than being present in the moment. That’s why it’s a good challenge to practice meditation while you’re traveling. Before you know it, you will have become more calm and are less likely to get fazed by trivialities.
Whether it’s your personal blog, a diary or a letter to a friend, writing is known to improve mood, and reduce stress levels and depressive symptoms long-term. And just picture your friend’s surprise when she finds your hand-written letter in her mailbox like in the good old days.
8. Set personal goals
Like Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” That’s why you could use the time you spend commuting to make a to-do list, mapping out areas where you would like to learn something new or figuring out your priorities in life and see if you need to make adjustments. That is no doubt time well spent.
9. Take a nap
Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. So if your night was short, it’s ok to get some shuteye on your way to work. Just keep your possessions close to you, set yourself an alarm to not miss your stop – and try your best not to sleep on a stranger’s shoulder.
10. Get your social media fix out of the way
If you can’t help but want to check your news feeds and notifications at work, try and get it out of the way during your commutes. If the time you’re traveling is the only time you allow yourself to log in to your social media profiles, chances are, you might even start enjoying the long rides.
But I take the car to work…
If that’s the case, don’t worry. There are still things you can do to use your time more wisely.
1. Learn a language
Learning new languages has huge benefits to your brain, and what better way to do it than in the privacy of your car where nobody can pick on your pronunciation. The lady on the tape never judges.
2. Listen to an audio book
Back to the book you’ve always wanted to read, but haven’t had time to – buy an audio version of it and let a smooth voice read it to you in the car. If it’s a good one, the commute will be over in a heartbeat. If it’s not, get another book. Drowsiness behind the wheel is dangerous.
3. Listen to podcasts
If there’s a topic you’re interested in, search for podcasts where thought leaders share their knowledge and expertise on the subject. There are great free podcasts on NPR, BBC and so many other resources guaranteed to keep you on top of the latest trends and happenings.
4. Practice economical driving
There are huge benefits to eco-driving – less money wasted on fuel, less need for maintenance, and it’s better for the environment too. Make it into a game and see how many extra miles you can squeeze out of your car if you try to anticipate traffic flow and avoid heavy breaking and accelerating.
By sharing a ride with somebody, you can take turns driving, so you can do all of the above on the passenger’s seat. And split the costs.
Featured image source: SpecialKRB / Flickr