Even with a bright mug full of caffeine or a couple of chewable coffee cubes in hand (sometimes you just need a quick fix), a lengthy commute can put a serious damper on your work day. However, your time in transit doesn’t have to be completely wasted or stressful. Rather than zoning out and aimlessly scrolling through your fave social media feeds, you can totally make your commute stimulating and productive. Scroll on for our 10 fave ways to hack your commute and make the most of each moment.
1. Create your micro to-do list for the day. Your morning commute is a perfect time to run through all of the things that you want to accomplish during the day and make them actionable. If you stay on top of your work game by making an overview of upcoming deadlines at the end of each work day, review it and fill in the micro-goals that will push each big project on your list forward. Whether you jot them down in your journal or make a digital note on your phone, you’re sure to retain unbreakable focus as you carry on through your 9-to-5.
2. Catch up on reading. If you’re one of the lucky ladies who doesn’t get motion sickness during your Uber pool, bus or train ride, your commute can be an amazing time to catch up on all of the articles you’ve saved for later on Facebook or Pocket. It’s also a great time to take out the book you’ve been toting around and actually turn some pages. In either case, you’ll have lots of interesting stuff to talk about with everyone later in the day. Yas, girl.
3. Listen and learn something. So you can’t read while en route? No worries — there’s a seemingly endless number of inspiring podcasts to tune into nowadays. Use ’em for pure entertainment or even to learn something new, like tricks for becoming your healthiest self ever. If you like to let your mind drift in the morning, try a meditation or mindfulness podcast.
4. Shop online. Commutes have been shown to actually cause people to shop, so why not scope out the best of the morning sample sales? You might score some stellar deals. If you’re not looking to take advantage of deep discounts, you can use your commute to reorder all of the things that are less exciting to buy, like Prime Pantry basics or recurring items, like contact lenses. Keep your stash stocked up!
5. Treat yourself to some YOU time. If you’re riding, let yourself relax. Your commute is a rare bit of time that you can actually plop down without having much forced responsibility, so take advantage of it. If you bike or drive to work, make it a point to take the scenic route or to stop for a minute along the way at your fave coffee shop. You might be surprised by how much more productive you can be when you’re well-rested and relaxed.
6. Sneak in some steps. It might be impossible to walk the entire way to work, but try to sneak in a few steps on your journey. Whether it’s getting off your bus or train a few stops early, having your Uber pool or Lyft line drop you a few blocks from the office or even taking a mid-route pitstop on the way home to explore a new neighborhood, there are tons of opportunity to get a little bit of exercise. The fresh air will do some wonders for you too.
7. Boost your brain power. Apps like Lumosity were designed to help give you a major brain boost and have actually proven to help stimulate cognitive function. Use the super fun science-backed brain games to keep your mind sharp even more than it already is. Games like Candy Crush Saga and language-learning apps, like Duolingo, will also engage your brain.
8. Check your bank statements and budget. Few folks love going through their bank statements and balancing their budget, but a boring commute is as good a time as any to log in to your online banking account and credit cards and scroll through the tiny lines of text to make sure charges are accurate, checks have been cashed and balances are in line. You can even use your commute to update your budget spreadsheet, so that you stay on track with your spending every month. Then fantasize about that vacation you’re saving for.
9. Practice a craft. Making time for a creative hobby like knitting or journaling can be majorly tough between a packed schedule and a long commute, but you can actually use the latter to practice the thing you love. Break out those knitting needles or pen and start or end the day on a high note.
10. Make a new friend. Commuting is full of opportunities to chat with the people around you. Though some situations might not call for a convo, others can make it easy to talk about work and life with fellow riders (look for someone reading a book you loved). We have friends who’ve landed interviews and met their S.O. while commuting, so never rule it out.
How do you get to work? Tweet us about your commute and what you do during it @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)