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Five ways to make the most of your commute

Commuting can be a drag – especially if you are already running late, your train or bus is delayed, and there’s nowhere to sit down. However; for some people, their commute to and from work is their favourite time of day, mainly because they don’t see it as a waste of time, instead choosing to reclaim these moments as valuable ‘me time’. To help inspire you, try five benefits of maximising your daily commute, making it work best for you.

You can use your commute to learn
In 2018, time is one of our most precious commodities. It is difficult enough to balance the time you spend working and socialising, let alone anything else. Fortunately, your commute is the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into your interests, without having to carve out time specifically for this. Whether you want to know more about politics, history, science or just gain some insights into improving personal relationships, this is the time to get it done!

You can improve your mental health
Commuting might seem like an odd time for focusing on your mental wellbeing, but arguably, it is the perfect opportunity to set yourself up for the day ahead or to decompress after a long day’s work. The better you are at looking after your mind, the happier and more relaxed you will be. Mindfulness is a great technique to try out on your commute and there are plenty of sensations to focus on. No idea where to start? I suggest giving Search Inside Yourself by Chade Meng-Tan, or Meditation for Fidgety Sceptics by Dan Harris a read or listen, to get yourself started.

See also: What is learning in ‘blinks’ and why you should do it

Maximising your time prepares you for the day ahead
Perhaps a more obvious one, but you can use your commuting time to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Mentally check your to-do list, think of your priorities for the day and if you have a meeting first thing – take time to figure out what you want to discuss and the questions you want to ask. Doing this on your commute means that you won’t waste any time at the start of the day, making you more productive and efficient as you go about your day.

Listening to podcasts while travelling makes you open to new ideas
If you like to spend your commuting time listening to podcasts, then congratulations, you are already spending this time wisely. Listening to podcasts makes you more aware of the opinions and ideas of others, whether the hosts are discussing science, comedy or politics. Being aware of the perspectives of others is likely to make you a better listener, as well as more accepting of others. If you haven’t listened to any podcasts yet, I’d suggest Simplify, a podcast which hosts amazing authors, discussing anything from productivity, through to sex and happiness.

You can teach yourself to be more comfortable in your own company
Lastly, commuting is the perfect opportunity to just be in your own company (mentally, at least!). If your day-to-day life is all about meetings, conversations, kids and socialising, these moments of quiet can help you focus on yourself, your needs, your interests and anything else you might have neglected in the last couple of weeks. Make a concerted effort to leave your phone in your bag or pocket, so you’re not tempted to scroll mindlessly through social media, and spend time with your own thoughts, working out what you need to do, and not to do, to feel more relaxed and at ease.

 

Ben Hughes is Head of Content at micro-learning platform and app Blinkist

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