Ah, the dreaded commute. Whether you take a train, a bus or a car to get to the office, this can take up a good chunk of your day (especially if traffic is bad). However, a lengthy commute doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Think of your daily commute to and from the office as the perfect opportunity to be more productive. Here’s how you can turn your drive, bus or train trip into a constructive experience:
If you drive …
Obviously, if you drive to work, you shouldn’t be responding to emails or checking your calendar while you’re behind the wheel. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways you can jump-start your productivity.
Listen to podcasts or audio books: No matter what field you’re in, there’s always more you can learn to become a better employee. A podcast will get you up to date on industry news, while an audio book may be able to help improve your public speaking skills or teach you how to become a better leader.
Learn a new language: Being bilingual is a sought-after trait in today’s business world. You may not have time to take classes after work, but you do have time to listen to audio tapes that teach you the language.
Clean out your voicemail: Is your cell full of voicemails from friends, family and co-workers you have yet to listen to? Use a hands-free connection in your car to listen to each voicemail and filter out your inbox. You can use the voice recorder on your smartphone to leave voice memos regarding whom you need to call back. It’s best to leave this task for home or the office if you don’t have a hands-free device.
Plan your day: You don’t need a pen and paper in order to plan out your day. As you drive, think about your priorities and the order in which you should focus on each one. This way, you can go into the office knowing exactly what you have to get done, and you’ll be able to start your day faster.
If you take a bus or a train …
Sitting on a bus or a train offers you a bit more flexibility as to what you can get done during your commute.
Open your laptop or tablet: Getting into the office and sorting through your emails can take up a big chunk of your morning. The good news is, you can get ahead of the game by doing that on your commute into work. Of course, there’s not always a wireless Internet connection available on public transportation. In this case, it may be beneficial for you to invest in a hotspot device. This mobile hotspot allows you to connect to the Internet anywhere at any time.
Create a to-do list: Help yourself get organized on the commute into the office by jotting down a to-do list. You may feel more ready to take on the day when you have a solid list of your priorities.
Write notes: Thank you cards, birthday cards and congratulations cards are all simple ways to connect with your co-workers and show you care. This will be one less thing you have to do at your desk when you get to the office.
Get your workout in: If possible, get off the bus a few stops early and walk or bike to work. You’ll be getting some fresh air and fit your workout in before you even get to the office.
Sleep: Didn’t get enough sleep last night? Take a 15-20 minute power nap on the bus or train so you feel refreshed and ready to go when you get to work. Just make sure to set an alarm if you’re scared you’re going to sleep past your designated stop.
Play a game: Games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles can actually boost your mental sharpness, and a train or bus is the perfect location to relax and play your favorite word or number games.