How to Make a Long Commute Productive

tips for a productive commuteNobody enjoys commuting to work, but you can at least use the time to have a productive commute so that you don’t feel like you’re wasting part of your day.

These tips will help you make the most out of your morning commute whether you drive or take public transit.

How to Be Productive While Commuting

1. Listen to Audiobooks

You can buy many books in audio format via Amazon. Listening to audiobooks is a great way to learn new information and improve yourself (or just relax) while commuting.

You’ll arrive fresh and energized at the office, rather than tired and frustrated after a tough morning commute. 

You could also buy an audio course or training program on a specific topic, like learning a foreign language.

Learning a foreign language is great for your brain and is also great if you plan on traveling in the future.

Who knows, this could even increase your value as an employee and bump up the next job offer you receive. Many companies prefer people that are bilingual and for certain jobs, it’s even required.

If you’re trying to decide which language to learn to earn more in your job, Mandarin (Chinese), Arabic, Portuguese and German are all quite valuable to know.

2. Plan Your Day

Do you have a specific plan of action when you get to the office?

It’s not the most fun thing to do in the car, but if you’re stuck in traffic anyway it can help you be more productive when you arrive at work. Use your morning commute to decide on the two or three most important tasks for the day and prioritize how you’ll get them done.

Do your most important tasks in the morning when you’re fresh and energized. Don’t do small tasks like responding to unimportant emails in the morning when you’re at your best!

3. Think About the Day You Finished

If you’re commuting home, you can think about what went well this past workday, and maybe what you’d like to improve on or do differently.

It’s tempting to stop thinking about work immediately when you leave (and sometimes this is good for mental health), but it’s also smart to occasionally reflect on your day and how it went!

4. Make Phone Calls

One of the best ways to make a long driving commute productive is to make any lengthy phone calls you’ve been needing to do (with a hands-free headset for safety, of course).

Need to call your phone company to fix an incorrect bill? That wait time won’t be so bad when you’re driving anyway.

Whether you’re commuting by car or public transportation, making a necessary phone call or two can save you time and make the rest of your day more productive when you arrive to the office or back home.

5. Catch Up On Emails (Public Transit Only)

Spending a few minutes on the train checking emails in the morning can set you up for a more efficient day when you arrive at the office.

Even if you don’t respond to anything, reading your emails for 15 minutes before work can at least give you some idea of what to tackle when you arrive at the office. If you don’t want to respond to any messages, consider just organizing them or marking them for when you get to work.

And if you’re required to handle any emails after work, doing it during your commute can save you time when you get home.

Just make sure you’re only doing this when taking public transit. Do not read emails or text/type while driving please, it’s extremely dangerous and can kill you or others.

6. Brainstorm Ideas (Public Transit Only)

Get a pad and paper and write down some ideas. You’ll be surprised what you can come up with.

You might think of ways to improve something at your current company, or you might get an idea of a product or service you could offer as an entrepreneur/freelancer. If nothing else, it’s good to have some unstructured time to be creative to see what you come up with.

You can also write down goals that you want to accomplish in the short term or long term, and how you plan on doing this.

7. Talk to Someone New (Public Transit)

If you’re on the train or waiting for public transit, consider starting a conversation with somebody now. You never know when meeting someone new will turn into more networking opportunities or job opportunities in the future.

You might have similar interests, work in the same industry, or have a mutual colleague. And having a conversation sure beats waiting in silence. 

By using the ideas above, you’ll make the most out of your morning and evening commute to be productive and refreshed when you arrive to the office and free to relax when you arrive home in the evening. 



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