While there’s very little you can do to cut down on your commute time, there are ways to use it to your advantage. By Satyaki Sarkar
A large part of our working day is taken up by our commute. Aggravated by traffic congestions, a prolonged commute time is one of the biggest causes of frustration for many. However, rather than letting that get to you, why not make the most of the forced ‘free time’ that you have? Rather than wasting it, use it efficiently to learn new skills, increase your knowledge or network. Here are five things you can do during your commute that will make it much more bearable and helpful.
1. Listen to a podcast or audiobook
If we were to conduct a survey of the entire world, we’d have difficulty finding many people who’d deny the incredible benefits that reading a book has to offer. Finishing a novel while on your way to work, however, might not be a feasible task. But listening to an audiobook or a podcast definitely is. Instead of whiling away the time you spend travelling to and from work, if you were to listen to a podcast or an audiobook that gives you helpful insights and knowledge about various aspects of your industry, or one that’s entertaining and helps you de-stress, then you’d be killing two birds with one stone. A large number of websites offer audiobooks that can be directly downloaded on to your phone. A habit like this can add to your storehouse of knowledge, increase your expertise, and expand your perspective.
2. Develop a skill
In the smartphone era that we live in, there are a whole host of apps available for almost everything. As such, developing a particular skill or a hobby has never been easier. Whether you wish to learn a new language, expand your vocabulary, learn a new skill or brush up an already existing one, all you need to do is download an app for it and get cracking. However, apps aren’t the only way to develop a skill while travelling. You could just as easily solve the crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper to stay sharp, improve your memory by playing a memory game, or even learn about a new job skill that could boost your professional repertoire. In the ever changing and ever growing corporate world it is imperative that you keeps reinventing and upgrading yourself, and what better time to explore a new domain than while travelling, when you have nothing else to do?
3. Catch up on networking
Networking is one of the most valuable and rewarding activities to engage in, because not only does it increase your presence and reach, but it also introduces you to like-minded peers, industry veterans, and potential partners. However, a lot of times, after networking with a number of new people at a social gathering or event, we tend to forget about the connection that we made and don’t cultivate it because of the lack of time. Instead of letting that connection go to waste, you can make a habit of using your commute time to reconnect with them, whether via an email, a message, or by calling. This helps ensure that the connections you build with the people you meet with are not wasted; these could end up bringing fortuitous opportunities along with helpful knowledge and insights.
4. Re-evaluate the previous day
Your commute time, especially in the early morning while on your way to work, is when your mind is fresh, uncluttered by stress and troubles of the day’s problems. As such, it is the perfect time for you to take a long, hard look at the work you got done the previous day. When you evaluate it from a fresh perspective, you can easily figure out the areas of improvement, the struggles you faced, the mistakes you made, and how you can improve. Incorporating a daily habit of evaluating your previous day’s work is not only a healthy means of self improvement, but can also help decrease the stress and obstacles you will face that day thanks to the insights you’ve gained, thereby increasing your overall productivity.
5. Practice meditation
Lastly, though this might easily be one of the most helpful of the lot, practising meditation while commuting to or from work, can have a massive impact on both your professional and personal life. Meditating on the way to office helps you calm your mind, compose yourself, and prepare for the day ahead, by giving you a clearer perspective, increased focus, and confidence in yourself. This makes you better equipped to handle crisis situations at work, builds your patience, and makes you less susceptible to outbursts even in the most trying situations. On the other hand, practicing meditation on the way home from work helps you leave all the stress, tension, and frustration accumulated through the day, and relaxes you so that you can enjoy the rest of the day with your family.