Most of us travel 20 minutes or more to get to and from work every day. If you add that up, that's a minimum of 40 minutes of your day that is probably not fun. People hate their commutes – it can take a lot of time, it can be stressful and it can really impact what you're able to get done. Not. Fun.
It's time to reclaim your commute time. Start thinking of it as bonus time: the extra time you can use to get more done. Every extra minute or five that you can get is priceless, especially if you're side hustlin' like me. So let's find some ways to use it!
Read (with your eyes & your ears).
Commute time is a great time for getting caught up on your reading. You can pull out your Kindle or open the iBooks app on your iPhone and read the latest bestseller. Or if you're driving, you can grab an audiobook from Audible and listen to your favorite author's latest novel. You can also check out web articles you’ve saved to read later in your Pocket or catch up on your blogs using a service like Feedly.
Listen to a podcast.
There are some great podcasts in the world right now covering every topic. Here are some of my favorites right now related to business and getting things done: How's Business Going?, The Portfolio Life, and Breaking Down Your Business. The possibilities are endless, so find something you want to hear about – you could learn a new food recipe, listen to the latest grammar tip or just follow along with the latest pop culture news.
Learn another language.
Is learning Spanish on your bucket list? You need Duolingo. It's a free, fun way to learn a new language. You can do one Spanish lesson in about 5 or 10 minutes – which works really well for a short commute. The app sends you reminders to stay up to date on your lessons and helps you learn in a variety of ways – speaking, reading and writing. You get graded as you go through the lessons.
Discover new (and old) music.
“Music makes the people come together” like Madonna says. I heart Spotify's music collection and I can make tons of personalized playlists for the music that I love. But I also love using it to discover music.Two of my favorite playlists that get updated weekly are the Discover Weekly playlist which is super customized to you and your musical style. And the #ThrowbackThursday playlist which is updated every Thursday with some wonderful oldie but goodie tunes.
Do a little work.
You have some time to kill so why not respond to some emails and clear your inbox? Or jot down some ideas for your next blog post in Evernote? You can check your social media notifications and post some of your favorite quotes. If you are in a quiet spot like your car, you can even record your next audio MP3 for your community or knock out some phone calls.
Plan your day.
On your commute to work in the morning, it’s a great chance to review your calendar and write down the top 3 things you need to get done today. On your way home you can start a list of things you need to work on tomorrow.
I asked my community what sorts of things they do on their commute:
I listen to podcasts on my way to work… I have about a 30 minute so it's not a lot I can accomplish… But I like to listen to business related podcasts.. especially on branding, blogging, and marketing.
Brandi Mishonna, Pretty Girl Smarter Woman
I do long distance driving when I am training creative business owners. I use the time to listen to audio books to have some ‘switch off' time & relax on the drive. I also find this time helps me come up with ideas for my podcasts. So I get a story read to me & ideas at the same time. I keep post it notes & a pen in my car so I can grab it & write my ideas down when I'm stuck in traffic.
Philiy Grace Page, Creative Women International
How is that for productive? And most of the tips here can be done on your smartphone.
But don't feel that you always have to get stuff done during your commute. Sometimes it's enough to just sit and people watch, close your eyes for a few minutes, or relax. We can't (and shouldn't) work all the time. But for those times where you want to knock something off your to-do list or make some progress on a project, schedule it for that drive to work or the bus ride home.