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10 Activities to Enrich Your Commuting Journey

10 Activities to Enrich Your Commuting Journey

In our fast paced, on the go lifestyle we rarely find the time to do something for ourselves. We are either working, spending time with family and friends, or traveling to and from work. With land close to major cities dwindling, rents are higher than ever and people are forced to make the epic journey into work from the outer suburbs.

The commute for many is extremely stressful and tough to deal with, but there are ways to make better use of your time and turn the long commute into a positive experience. These are 10 activities that will help enrich your commuting journey:

1. Sit next to or admire attractive commuters.

A study conducted by Dr. Glenn Williams and Rowena Hill from Nottingham University found that something as simple as sitting next to a fellow commuter you find attractive can reduce your stress and make for a more positive journey.

Dr. Williams says, “Commuting stress is something most of us can relate to. It can affect a person’s physical and psychological well-being and can lead to conflict at home and poor performance at work.” Sitting next to or admiring attractive commuters will help you take your mind off the daily commute, making it more enjoyable and a more positive experience.

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2. Find a friend to travel with.

Spending an hour or two alone in a car can be difficult and in some cases can cause feelings of isolation and general unhappiness.

To make your car ride more enjoyable try to organize a car pool or perhaps find a friend that is heading in the same direction and offer them a lift. The social interaction will help develop your communication skills, make the experience more enriching, and it can reduce travel expenses. Many job roles require customer interaction and being social prior to work will help you get in the mood, which in turn will help you become more productive and happier in the workplace.

3. Catch up on some sleep.

A long commute generally means early mornings or late nights, so take the opportunity to catch up some sleep. This is difficult if you drive to work, but for those that take public transport a snooze will refresh you and make your commute fly by. Before you fall asleep make sure you keep all your belongings in a tough to reach place and enjoy yourself. You may find that the extra sleep will have you excited for your commute.

4. Relax and take the time to be with your thoughts.

We very rarely have any time to just sit down, relax and be with our thoughts. Change your perspective of your commute and use the time to think about things you have neglected over the years. This is the time to think about the business you have always wanted to start, the book you have always wanted to read or places you have always wanted to visit. You may be surprised at what comes from this time you spend with your thoughts and it could take you to a whole new place in life.

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In an article on Huffington Post, meditation experts at the app Headspace recommend “being mindful of your environment and the tendency to resist it; being mindful of the emotions as they rise and fall, come and go…mindful of wanting to be somewhere else, of wishing time away; and mindful of wanting to scream out loud or put your foot down in the car.”

5. Plan your schedule for the day ahead.

The time we spend commuting is valuable time, especially for the busy, work-focused individual. Be productive; use your commute to plan tomorrow or your night ahead. Why wait until you get home to sort out your morning meeting? Spend the time at home with your family or relaxing on the couch. Preparing for the day ahead will relieve stress and make you far more efficient. If you change your perspective of your commute, you will be far less stressed and more productive than ever.

6. Take a more scenic route.

Rebecca Tatum White’s commute takes two hours each day, but she enjoys the drive. This is because her commute runs along the coast and the view “takes my breath away each morning.” She waves at surfers and takes in the local architecture of her city, which makes her happier, creating a more enriching commute.

A change of scenery can alter your perspective and give you a whole new outlook on life. Taking the alternate route may be slightly longer than your normal commute, but it beats a drive full of run down and dilapidated buildings.

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7. Take the time to keep in touch with family or friends.

Finding time to keep in touch with friends and family is difficult to say the least, but remember you have a long commute at your disposal. Talk about something positive with your friends or see how your nephews and nieces are doing; this will give you a more positive mindset and allow you to forget about the arduous journey home.

Williams and Hill suggest being social and talking with friends or family can lead to a more positive journey. Try it and see your commute home become far more enriching.

8. Use the time to learn something new.

Many people utilize the commute home to learn something new. Ashlee White uses her hour long commute home to learn Spanish and says, “it’s the perfect length of time to squeeze in some practice.”

It is a dream of countless people to learn a new language, either for their professional lives, to communicate with family members or perhaps because they have always wanted to. However, so many of us use the excuse of “I don’t have the time.” Do what Ashlee has done and take advantage of a long commute. It is the perfect time to sit down, read through your notes and learn something new.

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9. Listen to calm and relaxing music.

Ease your way into the day by listening to some calm and soothing music. According to a Populus survey, people that listen to heavy metal or hard rock are more likely to succumb to road rage or collisions. Instead, your body needs to be calm in the morning.

Listening to some smooth tunes rather than your regular loud rock will help you relax, calm down and create a safer drive to work.

10. Bring an iPod, tablet or laptop.

Bring something for entertainment and use it to be productive. Write that novel you have been thinking about, or play some mind teaser games to get your mind ready for the day ahead. Sitting on the train and zoning out is not the most effective use of time, so something as simple as bringing a laptop can dramatically improve your productivity.

Staying entertained will not only help the long commute seem quicker, but it will also allow you to get into the right head space, relax and become more productive throughout the day creating an overall more enriching commute.

Featured photo credit: It’s MARTA/Brett Weinstein via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day, or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say 5 or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff.

So, what to do in free time?

Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use.

Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style, and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought. Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time.

1. Reading Files

Clip magazine articles or print out good articles or reports for reading later, and keep them in a folder marked “Reading File”. Take this wherever you go, and any time you have a little chunk of time, you can knock off items in your Reading File.

Keep a reading file on your computer (or in your bookmarks), for quick reading while at your desk (or on the road if you’ve got a laptop).

2. Clear out Inbox

Got a meeting in 5 minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty.

If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done; but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.

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3. Phone Calls

Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere.

Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.

4. Make Money

This is my favorite productive use of free time. I have a list of articles I need to write, and when I get some spare minutes, I’ll knock off half an article real quick.

If you get 5 to 10 chunks of free time a day, you can make a decent side income. Figure out how you can freelance your skills, and have work lined up that you can knock out quickly — break it up into little chunks, so those chunks can be done in short bursts.

5. File

No one likes to do this. If you’re on top of your game, you’re filing stuff immediately, so it doesn’t pile up.

But if you’ve just come off a really busy spurt, you may have a bunch of documents or files laying around.

Or maybe you have a big stack of stuff to file. Cut into that stack with every little bit of spare time you get, and soon you’ll be in filing Nirvana.

6. Network

Only have 2 minutes? Shoot off a quick email to a colleague. Even just a “touching bases” or follow-up email can do wonders for your working relationship. Or shoot off a quick question, and put it on your follow-up list for later.

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7. Clear out Feeds

If my email inbox is empty, and I have some spare time, I like to go to my Google Reader and clear out my feed inbox.

8. Goal Time

Take 10 minutes to think about your goals — personal and professional.

If you don’t have a list of goals, start on one. If you’ve got a list of goals, review them.

Write down a list of action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to make these goals a reality. What action step can you do today? The more you focus on these goals, and review them, the more likely they will come true.

9. Update Finances

Many people fall behind with their finances, either in paying bills (they don’t have time), or entering transactions in their financial software, or clearing their checkbook, or reviewing their budget.

Take a few minutes to update these things. It just takes 10 to 15 minutes every now and then.

10. Brainstorm Ideas

Another favorite of mine if I just have 5 minutes — I’ll break out my pocket notebook, and start a brainstorming list for a project or article. Whatever you’ve got coming up in your work or personal life, it can benefit from a brainstorm. And that doesn’t take long.

11. Clear off Desk

Similar to the filing tip above, but this applies to whatever junk you’ve got cluttering up your desk. Or on the floor around your desk.

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Trash stuff, file stuff, put it in its place. A clear desk makes for a more productive you. And it’s oddly satisfying.

12. Exercise

Never have time to exercise? 10 minutes is enough to get off some pushups and crunches. Do that 2 to 3 times a day, and you’ve got a fit new you.

13. Take a Walk

This is another form of exercise that doesn’t take long, and you can do it anywhere. Even more important, it’s a good way to stretch your legs from sitting at your desk too long.

It also gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, taking a walk is a good way to get unstuck.

14. Follow up

Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list.

When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

15. Meditate

You don’t need a yoga mat to do this. Just do it at your desk. Focus on your breathing. A quick 5 to 10 minutes of meditation (or even a nap) can be tremendously refreshing.

Take a look at this 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

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16. Research

This is a daunting task for me. So I do it in little spurts.

If I’ve only got a few minutes, I’ll do some quick research and take some notes. Do this a few times, and I’m done!

17. Outline

Similar to brainstorming, but more formal. I like to do an outline of a complicated article, report or project, and it helps speed things along when I get to the actual writing. And it only takes a few minutes.

18. Get Prepped

Outlining is one way to prep for longer work, but there’s a lot of other ways you can prep for the next task on your list.

You may not have time to actually start on the task right now, but when you come back from your meeting or lunch, you’ll be all prepped and ready to go.

19. Be Early

Got some spare time before a meeting? Show up for the meeting early.

Sure, you might feel like a chump sitting there alone, but actually people respect those who show up early. It’s better than being late (unless you’re trying to play a power trip or something, but that’s not appreciated in many circles).

20. Log

If you keep a log of anything, a few spare minutes is the perfect time to update the log.

Actually, the perfect time to update the log is right after you do the activity (exercise, eat, crank a widget), but if you didn’t have time to do it before, your 5-minute break is as good a time as any.

More Inspirations on What To Do During Free Time

Featured photo credit: Lauren Mancke via unsplash.com

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