Words by Carlie Tucker
The morning commute. It's hard to think of anything positive to say about spending a good hour or so of your life driving, bussing or training to work each day, but it's unavoidable. It has to be done, but it doesn't have to be such a grind. Here are six ways you can improve your morning commute.
Prepare For Your Day
Once you get to work, it's going to be go, go, go! Spare moments to collect your thoughts are likely few and far between, so why not use your time on the road to prepare for your day. If you're catching public transport, pull out that phone and create a to-do list to organise your day.
If you're driving, create a voice memo on your phone to set goals and gather your thoughts on what you need to accomplish. Not only will you be setting yourself up for a better day at work, but you'll find the morning commute goes a lot quicker when your mind is occupied.
Read or Listen to Music
Speaking of keeping your mind occupied, music and books are a great way to keep yourself entertained while your commuting. Create a playlist for the road and crank it up to drown out the sounds of traffic. Listening to a few of your favourite tunes is a great way to pump yourself up for the day and hit the office feeling great.
Alternatively, if you're on the bus or train, use this time to get through that book you've been meaning to finish. Or, take the opportunity to branch out by looking up online news sources that you wouldn't normally read. You're likely to stumble across a few interesting articles that will absorb your attention.
For the professionals out there that seem to do nothing but work, the morning commute can be used as a time to unplug. Turn your phone on silent and put it away. Let your morning commute be your time to clear your head and find a little internal peace.
If you're at a loss for what to do with yourself without your phone in hand, take the time to simply observe. You'd be surprised at how fascinating people watching can be. Watch those around you, creating stories for them in your head. It's a wonderful creativity exercise that can be pretty entertaining at times. Alternatively, look out the window and let your mind wander as the landscape passes by. With nothing to focus on, you may be surprised at what your mind can come up with.
Plan For Delays
One of the most frustrating parts of the morning commute is the delays. If you plan for these little (or big) delays, you'll be better prepared to deal with them. Give yourself plenty of time so you're not stressing out thinking about the prospect of being late.
If you are well and truly stuck, just remember that sometimes these things happen. Send an email or make a phone call to let a colleague know you're running late, and then use the extra time to prioritise your schedule. That way you'll know what you need to dive straight into once you get in to the office.
Work It Out
One of the best ways to improve your morning commute is to use it as your daily exercise routine. If you have the option, walk or cycle to work instead of driving or taking the bus. Not only is this better for your health, but it could improve your work performance. Studies have shown that employees that regularly exercise reported feeling more productive.
For those that can't commit to walking, running or cycling into work every day, start off with one day per week and add on as you start to feel more comfortable. Alternatively, if you have a particularly long commute, try getting off your train or bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way.
This one may be more appropriate for your commute home, but taking the opportunity for a power nap is a great way to pass the time and give yourself a little extra boost of energy. Settle in and doze for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. You'll wake up feeling refreshed and ready for some post-work fun!