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7 Ways To Well Spend Your Commute

7 Ways To Well Spend Your Commute

Work commutes of any type can be emotionally and physically draining. On the positive side, having a lot of time on your hands while you are en route to work can be a blessing in disguise if you use it wisely. There are ways you can use this time without getting distracted on the road. Here are benefits for making the most out of your time during your dreaded daily commute.

1.You can use this time to think through specific issues

Do you have a certain problem you have been trying to solve in your personal life or an important business meeting that is coming up soon? This extra time during your commute is the perfect block of time to think through issues without being constantly interrupted. You might find a solution to your problems if you allow yourself to think about the problem without distractions. Dedicating time to a certain dilemma in your life first thing in the morning allows you to come up with new solutions since your brain is fresh.

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2. You can learn to de-stress

Your commute may seem like the last place you would find some solitude, but putting on some calming music which will help lower your blood pressure and allow you to arrive to work ready to face the day. If you are driving to work, add a little extra zen by spraying some relaxing scents, like lavender in your car to enhance the mood.

3. You can learn to be more mindful

Along the same lines as learning to find calm during your commute, you can also learn to practice being mindful on the way to work. The first step is to unplug and turn off your phone so that it does not create any distractions. If you are driving, focus on your surroundings, then acknowledge and accept your surroundings without negative thoughts (yes it’s hard!). If you are on public transportation, do the same thing with your fellow commuters and any frustrating scenarios that may come up. It takes practice and patience, but learning how to react to a stressful situation with a neutral and even positive approach can be beneficial for life in general.

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4. You can stay up-to-date on the world news

Do you hardly feel like you have time to keep up with what is going on in your city, let alone the world? Download a news podcast that will keep you informed about international news, without you feeling like you need to only skim the global headlines before rushing out the door.

5. You can use this time to educate yourself

Who says learning stops after you finish your formal schooling? Find a podcast on a subject that you have always been curious about, but never took the time to learn more about. Ask your co-workers, friends, and family members for recommendations on their favorites as well. Learning something new in the morning also makes your brain more alert and ready to tackle any tasks at work with a fresh eye.

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6. You can learn a new language

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language, but never seemed to find the time in your daily routine to practice? Use your commute as an opportunity to brush-up on your Italian or try out Arabic. There are plenty of apps and podcasts to download on your phone free of charge that can help you practice your verb tenses or pronunciation, whether you are stuck on the midtown train or in traffic.

7. You can “read” the book you have always wanted to

Have you always wanted to dive into a book, but always get sidetracked by Netflix or Instagram? Your commute is the perfect time to do this, whether you are in a car or the subway. If you are driving, audio books are a great solution and can keep you entertained for hours.

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Featured photo credit: Incumbents /Erin Nekervis via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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