By: Alisha Sedor
While having no commute at all is becoming quite popular, the average American travels 26 minutes to work, 20 percent longer than commutes in the 1980s. If you're like those of us city dwellers, your commute might be 45 minutes, and hour, or even two hours in from the suburbs. That's a HUGE portion of your week spent solely in transit. And, sure, you could kill all of that time playing Candy Crush, but if you want to use that time to move your career forward or better yourself, here are some of my favorite ways to spend my commuting time.
For the Drivers
While the benefits of driving are that you're in more control and you have the privacy of your own space. However, folks who drive to work are the most limited in the way that they can spend their commute. You need to keep your eyes on the road so no reading for you!
That said, you can still use your drive time productively. Podcasts and books on tape are fantastic for the drive. Some suggestions:
- Use OverDrive to download FREE books on tape from your local library
- Audible is great if you're willing to pay a little more for a bigger selection
- Use iTunes (or Podcast Republic if you're an Android user like me) to download some entertaining business podcasts like Inside Launch Street, Open for Business, HBR Women at Work, and a million more.
Carpool passengers, you're probably at the whim of your driver. Offer to DJ with some of your favorite podcasts and maybe you and your carpool buddies can learn together!
For the Train/Subway/Bus Folks
Since the vehicle you're in is in someone else's hands, you have a little more leeway! You can, of course, utilize the above but also:
- You can take out digital books in addition to the books on tape from the lending library or Audible
- Meditate - People say I'm crazy for meditating on the subway, but I actually love it. We live in a loud, crazy world so practicing mindfulness while commuting acclimates my mind to that for the day. I love Calm and Headspace because I can download meditations for when I don't have service, but there are loads of free apps as well.
- Exercise! Add some extra steps to your day by getting off 1 stop away on the subway, or do some heel lifts while waiting on the platform.
- Download articles to read later with apps like Pocket
- Use Countable (if you have service on your commute) to let your legislators know how you feel about bills and issues on the docket. Make your voice heard!
For the Walkers
You live close enough to your office to walk? You lucky duck you. Well, if you're quite skilled at walking and reading, all of the above applies. But at the least, the audio options are great. You can also do a walking meditation! I find them really calming. Headspace has a meditation specifically geared to the walk, but really any will do.
There we are folks! Some of my favorite ways to feel productive on my commutes. What do you like to do en route to and from work? Leave suggestions in the comments!