That morning drive or subway ride to work? Yawn. Sometimes getting yourself to work every morning can feel like a drag – especially when you feel like you could be doing something better with your time. With an average commute time of 25 minutes (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), we’re willing to bet that you have a few ideas as to what you could be doing instead. Fortunately, so do we! Here are a few ways you can make your morning commute more productive.
Make your to-do list
If you have the tendency to talk to other drivers while you’re in the car, try talking to yourself instead. Most smartphones have some sort of audio recording software built in, so hit the record button and make a verbal list of what you need to accomplish during the day. You can write it out by hand later (and edit down your list in the process). If you’re feeling particularly pressed for time you can invest in a dictation app and have your phone write your list for you. For a test trial, Dragon Dictation can be downloaded for free.
Teach yourself a new language
Instead of getting to the next level of Candy Crush, try a fun, interactive lesson where you can learn another language. There are several apps where you can test yourself on new vocabulary with virtual note cards and quizzes, and some go beyond basic phrases, so you can learn to speak a language conversationally. With games, puzzles, and audio resources – you can practice your language skills no matter what kind of commute you have.
(Though, obviously not with your eyes closed.) Even if your route to work can get intense, you still have time to complete some deep breathing exercises. Completing these meditative exercises (some are less than ten minutes) can help you relax and clear your mind, which leads to less stress when starting off your day. Other health benefits include lowering your blood pressure and improving your posture. You’ll be surprised how much more relaxed you’ll feel as you head into the office!
Audio Books & Podcasts
It’s no secret that podcasts and audio books have been growing in popularity. If you’re used to making yourself a playlist to get yourself to work on time, pick a podcast or audio book to work your way through. There are hundreds of options to listen to; if you’re interested on learning how to become a better manager, make a budget, or communicate more effectively at work, you’ll find something to learn from. (And yes, you can find plenty of non-work related podcasts and audio books to entertain you!) You can get an Audible book subscription for $14.95 a month and most podcasts can be downloaded for free, so you’ll always have fresh material to get you through those long mornings. Best of all, you can try Audible free for 30 days, so you can try it out to see if you like it.
No, we don’t mean that you scroll through your Twitter or Instagram feeds. If you have enough quiet on your commute, use the time to call a friend or family member that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Texting is great, but a phone call is much more personal and it gives you a chance to catch up. Plus, if the person you’re speaking to is also commuting to work, it’s a win-win situation.