If you’re a daily commuter on the train, bus or stuck in interminable traffic jams, the time spent with your head in a fellow commuter’s armpits, or staring at the barely moving vehicle in front, can seem like a complete waste. But with a little thought, there are ways you can steal back some of this time for yourself, and get your day off to a much more productive and enjoyable start.
#1. Write something
If you’re the creative type, you might use the time on the train to write already, with blogging an increasingly popular pastime and a great way to connect with others and organise your thoughts on a daily basis. However, even if you don’t believe you have a creative bone in your body, the benefits of writing a journal might convince you to pick up a pen. In different pieces of research, diary writing has been shown to reduce stress, improve the immune system, and even positively impact the symptoms of asthma. Journaling can help you get to know yourself better, solve problems and resolve disagreements. Not a bad result from some ’dead’ time, is it?
#2. Make something
An alternative to writing if you’re on the train or bus, is to make something on your commute. Whilst a spot of airfix or ceramic work might be beyond the scope of a crowded train, a small piece of crochet, cross stitch or knitting might be an option, or why not try your hand at illustrating if textiles aren’t your thing? Get good at whatever you choose, and you could even turn your commute time into a side hustle, selling your handicrafts on Etsy or a similar site.
#3. Learn a new language
With a wide range of apps and sites to help your learning, such as Duolingo or Lingvist, you could learn new words, practise your listening skills and read in your chosen language whilst on your commute. With the ability to download and listen to lessons in your car, this is one that you can manage whatever your method of commuting.
#4. Plan your day
If the first thing you do in the morning is write a to do list, or if thoughts of the work waiting for you swirl round and keep you up an night, try using the homeward evening commute to write your plan for the next day. This way, the tasks you need to complete are fresh in your mind, and also the simple act of writing things down will help you clear your head and enjoy some proper rest time in your night off.
This thought of drifting off into peaceful relaxation on your commute might sound unlikely as you’re being elbowed off the train by a wordlessly frustrated fellow commuter, but with the help of an app such as Stop Breathe Think, you can use your smartphone to complete relaxation and meditation exercises. This clever app can even gamify the process of relaxing to make it an appealing option even to those who have never thought to partake before.
Time, as our only truly finite resource, is something worth using wisely - and the commuting time of average workers, particularly in larger cities, can feel like a terrible waste. Think about how you can seize back time for something more worthwhile, taking control, as well as enriching your life in ways an hour staring at the back of another commuter’s head on your regular bus, simply can’t do.
Image source: Bloomberg