Despite an increasing number of people working from home, many of us still have to commute back and forth to the office every day. Coupled with the fact that the length of the average commute has now risen from 48 minutes to an hour, you may find that you're actually spending quite a lot of your time on the train, bus, taxi or sitting in your car.
But this time doesn't have to be wasted. Regardless of how you prefer to commute, here are a number of ways that you can make more of your morning and evening travel time!
Listen to audiobooks and podcasts
Enjoying an audiobook or podcast series while commuting is a great way to pass the time. Listening to audiobooks prepares you to think critically, allowing you to be on top of your work from the get-go. You could even listen to something that's relevant to your job - this can help to spark ideas and generally psych you up for the day.
Alternatively, if you'd prefer to steer clear of work-related content, audiobooks and podcasts can allow you to get lost in a story or conversation that takes your mind off your day-to-day stress.
Enjoy some music
A number of studies have pointed out the positive effects that music can have, such as improved immunity, reduced stress, enhanced brain function and relief from anxiety. Music is even better when you're joining in - although you should maybe avoid doing this on a packed train at 8 in the morning.
Take a nap
Naps are great. Everyone loves a nap, right? If work or your home life has left you a little sleep-deprived, your commute may just be the perfect place to close the deficit.
Simply sit back, relax and grab the shut-eye you need. Just make sure you don't miss your stop or dribble on the person next to you.
Whether it's a paperback, an ebook, a newspaper or a magazine, your morning commute presents the perfect time to put your head down and get lost in words. As with the audiobook tip above, you can dive head-first into something work-related or something completely fictional - the choice is yours.
Reading comes with a host of benefits too, such as reduced anxiety and enhancing your ability to understand others.
Catch up on the small stuff
Depending on the length of your commute and your transportation method, you may be able to use the time to catch up on all the small stuff you tend to put off.
Clear your mental in-tray by replying to texts and emails, creating shopping lists, or even setting small goals for the week ahead.
Regardless of how you commute, there are always opportunities to be inspired! Instead of gazing aimlessly out of the window, try taking a few minutes to take in the people and places around you. There is always value in simply noticing what is going on in your surroundings.
So, next time you feel your mind wandering, try focusing your senses to see if there is anything that sparks your interest!
In summary, there is no right or wrong way to make the most out of your commute to and from work. One day, you may listen to an audiobook; the next, you could be replying to emails or making up a story in your head about a fellow passenger and his unusual hat.
Whatever you decide to do, be sure to use your commute wisely so that you can start or finish your day feeling energised or relaxed and make your workweek just that little bit easier.
Like HRS on Facebook for more advice and insight like this!
Photo courtesy of Pixabay