Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / NOV. 01, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Make the Most of your Commute

Many people commute to work on trains, buses, subways or personal cars. If not managed properly, commuting can be a very stressful and frustrating experience. However, there are several ways you can make your commute more productive and enjoyable:

1. Learn to relax

When commuting, many people experience tension in their bodies during their commute. This is usually in the feet, legs, back, neck and hands. It is therefore very important to find ways of relaxing your muscles. Any time you feel tension building up in your body, carry out some physical exercises that will help you relax. In addition, you could consider practicing deep breathing. Listening to some enjoyable music can also help you relax as you commute.

2. Alter your mindset

Many people see commuting as an inconvenience they have to put up with to get their job done. However, having such a negative mindset is only likely to create more frustration and stress. This could in turn lead to conflict and misunderstandings at work. Therefore, it is very important to have the right mindset towards your commute. Think of it as a time when you can relax, reflect on your achievements and goals, and learn new things.

3. Be productive

There are many ways of using your travel time productively. First, you can spend your time reading trade journals, magazines, blog posts and online articles to catch up with the latest news in your industry. You could also use this time to make phone calls or send emails. However, take note that texting or talking on the phone while driving is hazardous. In many areas, cell phone use when driving is not allowed. Therefore, it would be wise to switch off your phone until you arrive at your destination.

Another great way of using your travel time is listening to podcasts and audio books. In addition, you could brainstorm solutions and ideas to problems.

4. Stay healthy

Many commuters complain of shoulder, neck or back pain. This could be due to poor sitting postures or standing for long periods in buses or trains. To avert such risks, you need to consider how you stand or sit. When sitting, ensure that your feet are flat on the floor, your shoulders are back and your back is straight. You could also consider using a small pillow to support your lower back. When standing, avoid placing all your weight on one foot since this could result in back pain.

Another great way of staying healthy during your commute is to carry water and snacks. This can be especially useful after work when your energy levels are low. Remember to stick to healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts.

Finally, when you commute by bus, subway or train, avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes during the journey. When you reach your destination, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. This will protect you from catching germs from other commuters.

If, despite all your efforts, commuting continues to be an unpleasant experience, you could ask your boss to adjust your working hours. Negotiate for your hours to be shifted backwards of forwards, or even for the opportunity to work from home on some days. Working favorable hours will make you feel less stressed, thus enhancing your productivity.  

Image courtesy of Flickr, modenadude

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