At first I wasn’t concerned, even though friends and family kept nagging me about it.
Then, one night it hit me – my commute into the city would add up to 15 hours a week; one hour train ride, half-hour walk, each way, five days a week.
Though my first week on public transit was far from ideal (partially due to my lack of public transit etiquette), I found ways to be productive during those precious hours of commuting, instead of writing them off as lost time.
1. Remember that trains don’t wait
If you don’t have a firm routine in the morning, you can find yourself struggling to pull yourself together and get out the door.
This pattern of behaviour can not only make you miss your train, it’s also a great way to forget important things at home.
So, remember: trains do not wait.
Missing your train only adds on more time to your commute, so plan accordingly!
Hint: Creating a morning routine will save time and result in a less-panicked you.
2. Make some phone calls
It’s easy to spend the commute to and from work thinking about … work.
Why not use your commute to catch up with a friend or loved one once in a while?
Since you’re not going anywhere (for a bit anyways), pick up the phone and have a chat!
It will put a smile on your face, and the face on the other end.
Hint: Call someone who is relaxing to talk to. Don’t talk about work.
Immerse yourself into a great novel and time will fly by.
If you find a particularly engaging book, you’ll be able to escape into your own world, despite being surrounded by 1,000 fellow commuters.
Try reading the same book as a friend or coworker, and chat about it when you get the chance. Turn your commute into a solo book club!
Hint: Don’t read paperwork or documents from work, if you can help it.
4. Get caught up
Living in a world built around technology makes it easy to get things done without sitting at a desk.
Starting projects, reading the news, paying bills and making appointments are all things that need to get done.
Why not start your to-do list on your commute?
Hint: Be careful what information you display on your screens when you’re surrounded by strangers.
5. Do nothing
No cell phone, no music, no nothing.
Some days the most productive thing to do is let your body catch up with life.
There are lots of different kinds of practices and exercises designed to help you get in touch with your own thoughts and feelings and there’s a good one for everyone.
Hint: Not really your cup of tea? Try closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing. Nothing else. It’s both more difficult and more relaxing than you might expect.
Photo Credit: stephanski via Flickr