My commute to work is about 1 hour each way, which means I spend approximately 10 hours each week simply driving to/from work. With that much time being spent in the car I’ve really needed to rethink how I use that time.
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I’ve made it one of my goals for July to start using my commute more productively, so I did a little research.
Here are some things you can do to make your commute more productive:
Think about how much you could learn if you dedicated 10 hours to something each week. Well, if you have a long commute, you have the perfect opportunity! There are tons of audio books and podcasts that can help you learn almost anything, like a new language or how to invest or how to stay a side hustle. Podcasts played a huge role in inspiring me to stay this blog. I learned a lot about blogging through podcasts long before I purchased my domain.
The best part about audio books and podcasts is that you can access many of them for free. If you haven’t already, check out your library’s selection of audio books. Most public libraries offer a huge selection of audio books free of charge. My library’s audio book selection enabled me to read 26 books last year (some of which I listened to during my commute).
If you are a writer or blogger or student, you can use your commute as time to write. Most cell phones now have talk to text capabilities, which you can use to record your thoughts and write rough drafts. I do some of my best thinking when I’m alone in the car, so having a way to capture my thoughts is helpful. That way, when I get home, all I need to do is take some time to edit.
Even if you’re not a writer or don’t have any big writing assignments, you can use talk to text to journal your thoughts. Sometimes it can be difficult to find time to sit down and write in a journal. This is a great alternative.
Before the start of your day, it’s always helpful to think about the things you need to accomplish. Use your time in the morning to plan out your day. What are your goals? When will you accomplish each task? You can either use your phone to record your tasks so that you don’t forget them, or you can simply visualize your day and walk through it in your head. This will ensure that once you get to the office you will know exactly what to start on, instead of wasting time trying to think of your to do list for the day.
If you have an important meeting or presentation, your commute is also a good time to think about how it will go. Practice running through it in your head or speaking it out loud, so that you’ve already gone through it a few times by the time you get to the real deal.
Related: How to Work Less and Get More Done
Carpool. I know that not everyone can carpool, but many people can and it can be a great opportunity to get to know someone better or spend time with people you love. My husband drives to work with me on Fridays and I love it! I wish he could come with me every day.
If you know someone that works near you, take a chance and ask them to carpool. You might make a new friend (and save some gas money along the way).
As a Christian, it’s important to me that I spend time in prayer each day. Over the last couple of years, some of my best time in prayer has been spent in the car. Oftentimes, being alone for an hour gives me the freedom I need to simply talk to God about everything that’s been on my mind. I also use the time to thank Him for the things in my life that I’m grateful for (like the beautiful sunsets I see on my way home each evening).
If you don’t follow a faith, you could also use the time to just be silent and reflect on life or think about what you’re grateful for.
Last but not least, your commute is a great time to relax. With the busy lives that we all lead, it’s important to carve out some time for yourself. Similar to having a quiet time, relaxing could just mean being silent or it could mean listening to your favorite music. Whatever it might look like for you, let yourself relax and enjoy the time that you have alone before the start of a hectic work day.
One Last Note
When I first started using my commute productively, it completely changed the way I think about it. Instead of dreading my commute, I started to enjoy it.
You spend too much time commuting each day to not use it to your advantage. Think about the things you need to get done and what you could do to make your commute more productive. You might start enjoying your commute, too.