The average American is spending about 25 minutes commuting, and this is according to the latest census data. This doesn’t seem like much, but see it this way: The average American is spending more than four hours commuting – and this is over 200 hours every year!
You can add more time to your day by doing something good for yourself during the commute, instead of spending that time listening to the same songs over and over again. Whether you are settled in a seat, at the wheel, or clinging on the subway strap, the ideas below will help you become more productive with your morning and evening commute time.
1. Preparing for the Day Ahead
Are you going for a meeting, interview, or presentation? If you are alone in your car, use the time to practice your speech. When you say things out loud, you get the chance of honing your delivery and tone. It is also going to boost your confidence.
If you are not driving, you can use this time to strategize your next project or work on your to-do list. When you arrive at the office, you can hit the ground running. You can use this time to plan out your meals for the next week, tackle life maintenance items. Some use this time to write their shopping list. This can be even more perfect if you can pass through the grocery store on your way home.
2. Reading or Listening
If you are riding in a car, on public transport, or in a carpool, you can use the time to read a book. Reading is going to help with your personal and professional life. You will be improving your life using the time that would have otherwise gone to waste.
If you are driving, then plug your phone or CD into the stereo and listen to a lecture or show. NPR has a podcast directory you can check out if you don’t know where to get started. LibroVox is a great place to get free audiobooks.
3. Learning a New Skill
There is a good chance you have that one thing you have always wanted to learn, but you have not gotten around to doing it. Four hours a week is a lot of time, use it to learn that thing. Have you always wanted to learn how to crotchet? get a skein of yarn and get started. Maybe you might end up finding someone who likes crocheting who sees you, and you end up making a new friend.
There are a lot of things you can do during a commute. When riding, use apps like Lumosity to boost your brainpower. Practice your gambling skills with an online casino. If you are the one driving, you can still learn a new language.
4. Getting to Know Someone
Do you spend a lot of time waiting at the subway stop? Use that time to talk to people. Striking up a conversation with strangers might be intimidating, but you should give it a try. Starting a conversation is not that hard, look for conversation starters include a common transit stop, a book they are reading, or even current or local events.
When driving, there is no one you can strike up a conversation with. Connect your phone to the Bluetooth and use your commute to make short phone calls or conversations that usually take a long time. You are going to enjoy your commute time a lot because you are going to accomplish a lot during that time.
5. Catching Up on Sleep
If your commute is long, then you are used to getting up early and getting home late. You should use your commute time to get some sleep unless you are the one driving. When sleeping, make sure you set an alarm on your phone or ask a fellow traveler to wake you up when you reach your stop. You can end up overshooting it.