Four ways to make your commute more productive

Commute – Via Shutterstock
Let’s face it, dragging yourself out of bed on a weekday can be almost impossible. 

You often spend your commute (if by public) catching some extra zzz’s or quickly scarfing down some breakfast.

But it’s possible to use that time to make yourself ‘work ready’ and welcome in that productive mind-set.  So instead of chugging lattes and zoning out at the passing landscape, here are four ideas to make your commute much more productive.

Set up a schedule

Do your work goals seem a little too big sometimes that they almost seem impossible?  Instead of daydreaming about achieving these goals during your commute, take matters into your own hands.  You can either list two to three things to accomplish in a day or create a set of concrete actions you can take on a weekly and monthly basis.

However, keep in mind that research shows that 41 per cent of tasks on To-Do lists are never actually done.  Highly productive people convert their days into minutes (1,440 to be exact!) and break down the route to their goals like that.  “Use a calendar and schedule your entire day into 15-minute blocks. It sounds like a pain, but this will set you up in the 95th percentile…”, advises the co-founder of The Art of Charm, Jordan Harbinger.

Even if you do change how you go about it, the process of breaking it down will make your goals seem less daunting and easier to achieve.  There are a number of great apps that will help you do this such as Google Calendar and DigiCal.

Get cycling

If you don’t live too far from work perhaps it’s a good idea to hop on your bike and set off!  By 9AM you’ll have already done your daily exercise and it will get you pumped and ready for the day.

In one British study, employees reported being more productive on days they exercised compared to days they didn’t.  If the thought of cycling every day is off-putting then perhaps do it twice a week.  For those taking the train or bus, you could get off a few stops early and take a 15 minute stroll to clear your head before work.

Catch up on your reading

If you feel like you’re always too busy to finish a novel or catching up on current affairs, then carve out some commuting time to read.  Whether it’s to prepare your brain for the working day or winding down after a hectic one, there a number of ways to get your reading fix.

Apps such as Instapaper, Pocket or Safari’s Reading List enable you to save interesting articles for later reading.  Or, you know, you could even begin reading an actual book too!
If you’re walking or cycling, the excellent Lisgo app turns the written word into natural-sounding speech so you won’t miss out.

Check & sort out e-mails

You may often feel like you spend most of your working life e-mailing.  With so many new messages coming in throughout the day, it’s easy to get lost under a seemingly endless stream of e-mails.

The average worker spends 25 per cent of their day handling and replying to these memos.  During your commute, take the time to sift through, organize and reply to the important e-mails.  Handling these on the way means that you can jump into a productive day the moment you reach your desk.

About the author

Francesca Hooper writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse their graduate jobs London listings, visit their website. For senior roles, see the Inspiring Search page.

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