Make Your Commute More Productive

Jake Wells

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According to recent statistics, over 10.8 million people travel over an hour per day on their commute. That adds up to over forty hours a month and approximately 500 hours per year! Instead of using this time to get frustrated before arriving at the office, use this time intentionally. The morning commute is one of the best times to be creative. You can ride on the bus, and instead of wasting gas and getting stressed out, use the time to write, read, or plan out your day.

If the bus is not an option, you can still use your commute to be productive. Turn off the radio and be intentional with your time. There is a fantastic, free application called Dragon Dictation for iOS that transcribes your speech into words. You can then email that transcription to yourself, or even text it to someone else. Does it work? The proof is in your hands as a portion of this book was written using that software. Sure, you still have to edit the text, but as you use it more, you’ll figure out how slowly you need to talk in order to get the best results.

You can also try driving in complete silence. Soon you’ll have many creative ideas or find clarity on any projects at hand. You can even use your commute to listen to audiobooks or podcasts to keep your mind fresh.

Don't look at your morning commute as a negative. View it as an intentional space to grow, learn, and create each day.

Use Your Evening Commute

The commute home is a natural time to relax and decompress. As you use energy during the day, your ride home should not be a time of intense focus or you’ll burn yourself out. Your brain has been stimulated all day, so why not give it a break? Listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts you find soothing or entertaining, or just drive home in silence.

Here are some suggestions for how you can spend your commute home:

Take the scenic ride home. Sure, it may take longer, but you won't be on autopilot and your brain will stay fresh.

Jot down notes or reflections from the day. Don't forget to dig deeper on these the next morning when you’re fresh.

Reconnect with friends or make new ones. Write emails, text messages or letters. Make phone calls. Consider carpooling with some coworkers, as this will give you someone to talk with and can reduce stress from traffic.

Whatever you decide to do on your commute home, make sure it’s not mentally draining. This will help you recharge and make the most of your time.

Use Your Weekends

Don't let your weekends slip by. We all have great intentions, but instead we may spend most of the weekend in front of the television because we lack intentionality. Why not schedule what you want to do on your weekends? This is one of your best opportunities to really move forward in your work.

Schedule a few hours away from the house so that you can work on a project. Repay the favor to your spouse for a few hours, then spend the rest of the day together.

Instead of vegging out on the couch for three football games, why not just watch one football game? Or why not record it and skip through all of the commercials? You’re being disciplined during the workweek; stick with it during the weekend as well. Don't let the wheels fall off for two days and expect to dive back into good habits on Monday.

I hope this post encourages you to use your time wisely. We only have so much time here on Earth. Let's make the most of every moment.

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