Perhaps you find yourself with a decent amount of time driving to and from work with a significant commute. It can be the default to allow this portion of your day to feel stressful or like a perfectly good waste of your time–stuck in your vehicle or on mass transit with little else to occupy your mind, body, and soul.
Instead of seeing your commute to and from work as an imposition, see it as an opportunity. These seven ideas will benefit you and allow you to make the most of your time.
Become a Better Reader
There’s a big difference in what reading might look like depending on whether or not you are a passenger on a bus or train or a driver behind the wheel of a car. If the former, read away. Grab your favorite hard copy book, newspaper, magazine, or print material of choice. If you’re driving, make use of free or paid services like Hoopla, Libby, or Audible to download and listen to audiobooks. Twenty minutes a day can add up to many, many books read.
Become Fluent in a Foreign Language
Another idea for using your commute time wisely is to focus on the acquisition of a new skill, such as learning a foreign language. There are many programs that abound either through the use of a series of audio lessons or by playing on an app, new language skills can be learned quickly and easily.
Master a Niche Subject Matter
Along the same lines of focusing your time on mastering a foreign language comes the advice to use your commute time to become an expert. Whether it’s through picking one genre of audiobooks, podcasts, or a learning management system to pursue, there’s no shortage of topics about which to learn. Want to become a better cook, an investing aficionado, or chase your dreams of international travel? Use your commute to master your craft through learning.
Stay Connected to Friends and Family
There’s no better time than a commute to designate as the part of your day to stay in contact with those you love. If you’re on public transit, use the time to craft a thoughtful email or text to a friend. If you are alone in your personal vehicle, use your commute to make a phone call or send a recorded voice memo. Take advantage of your car and/or phone’s BlueTooth capabilities so that you can safely stay “hands-free.”
Let Music Move You
Perhaps using your commute for productivity isn’t your jam. Instead, your focus might be to simply enjoy the time with no agenda other than relaxing and either gearing yourself up for your workday or winding down in the interim between work and home. These days there are a variety of smartphone apps that can deliver your music to you. Bonus points for curating your own commuter playlist with inspirational songs for such an occasion.
Laugh Your Way With Podcasts
One popular way to de-stress is through laughter. Ask around and find out from those who share like-minded sensibilities which funny podcasts should be added to your queue. Many stand-up comedians have their shows and material available on Spotify and Apple Music. Escape the mundane drive with a little humor.