6 Productivity Tips For Your Daily Commute
According to the Office for National Statistics many Britons spend a year of their lives commuting. That’s a grand total of 10,634 hours. Nearly one in ten ‘extreme commuters’ have a daily overall commute of three hours or more. The average commute has increased by 20-40% in the last ten years.
Some have a much longer commute from one end or one side of the country to the other. Whether you have a long daily commute or you spend time travelling to and from meetings, you can still use your commuting time productively.
While 53% choose to drive to and from work, 20% use the train, underground or bus to get to work.
Make the most of your commuting/travel time whether by bus, train, car or even plane.
1. Avoid travelling in peak hours. If your company offers flexible working – stagger your start and end times to avoid the rush hour traffic.
You’ll spend less time travelling overall if you’re not stuck in traffic and you’ll get to the office quicker when you do.
You might actually get a seat on the train and it’s usually cheaper to travel outside of peak times. Not always an option but take advantage of it when you can.
2. Reading material. Whether it’s a book, newspaper or magazines – online or an actual hard copy – work related or personal interest, you can get through a lot of reading in the time you spend commuting.
Have it readily accessible on your smartphone or tablet so you can catch-up when you’re offline. If you have an email ‘Reading’ folder – this is an ideal time to go through it.
For the same reason – while your commuting time may be an idea time to catch up on phone calls, be aware of others around you who might not want to listen in to your conversation or are having ones of their own. A noisy commuter journey isn’t conducive to conducting business.
Avoid listening to voicemail messages and making calls when you’re driving! Even handsfree driving while on the phone is distracting, slows reaction times and increases the risk of accidents.
3. Create a break between home and the office. On the journey in – plan your day, so you arrive in the office knowing what your most important tasks are. It will help you stay productive and focused for the day.
On your journey home use the time to relax and unwind after a busy day at work, especially if you’ve had an early start or a particularly stressful day.
Use the end of the day to review your progress or to finish off work before you walk through your front door and can relax for the rest of the evening.
If you’ve been out of the office all day your train or bus journey home can be a useful time to catch up on email and voice messages.
4. Organise your personal life. Spend the time dealing with personal, home related issues or tasks so you don’t get distracted by these while at work.
Arrange your social life, catch up with friends and family by phone, text or social media.
Depending on the length of your commute – take an alternative form of transport. If you usually drive, take the bus, you’ll get more done if you’ve not occupied with driving.
5. Get active. If it’s not too far – cycle or walk instead of driving or taking public transport.
You’ll start and end the day with exercise and it’s a cheaper alternative to the gym.
Many offices have shower facilities available for their pedal-powered employees. You’re also more likely to whizz past the rush hour traffic – but pay attention to the highway code – it applies to cyclists too.
6. Learning opportunity. Use the time to listen to audiobooks or podcasts, learn a new language, study for a course or as part of your ongoing personal development.
Download a mind-training app or do a crossword or sudoko to sharpen up your thinking and brain power rather than playing endless games of Candy Crush.
Be realistic about what you can achieve on your commute. You’re limited on space and even with a smartphone there are certain tasks that are better suited to a crowded train carriage than others.
Take note – always carry a notebook or use a note app to capture thoughts and ideas as they come to you. Use a voice recorder if you’re driving – and only if it’s safe to do so.
Social media – if you use social media this is a good time to read, respond and interact with your followers – mobile coverage or wifi permitting. There are some great apps available which can help you use your social media time more wisely.
Don’t feel pressured to work and squeeze the maximum productivity out of every hour of your commute. Sometimes the best use of that time is to switch off your phone, rest, relax and de-stress.