For a large proportion of the population a daily commute is an unavoidable part of life. Times and modes of transport do vary; however, if we say that on average an hour a day is spent sat travelling, that is a significant amount of designated time per week that can be put to good use.
Be proactive with your commute time and don't get sucked down the social media rabbit hole; instead plan what you want to achieve with a time-slot you already have available.
Remember as well, that it's not about being frantically busy the whole time; in fact, using the time to effectively relax may be the best way to boost your productivity in the long run.
Here are some ideas for being proactive on your daily commute and not wasting this precious time.
1. Listen to music
If you love music, then instead of just listening to whatever's in the car stereo; make a point of downloading new albums and using the time to build on your musical knowledge and repertoire. Software, such as Spotify, can aid you in your journey of discovery, by suggesting new artists and genres to try out.
Why not feel old fashioned, and slightly superior to your fellow commuters who all have their faces glued to their phones, by reading a book. Fuel your imagination with beautiful and well written narratives, and stimulate your brain with the simple act of reading.
It's rare that you ever finish a book and think, 'well that was a complete waste of time'. On the contrary, you are likely to feel as though your mind has been expanded and your eyes opened to a whole new world and way of thinking.
3. Audio books
From the hours spent in commute each week, you are able to work out roughly how long it will take you to ingest an entire book, audibly. This is satisfying and could be a real game changer in terms of you having access to a fictional escape world.
4. Creative pursuits
Creative outlets allow us to reconnect with our true nature. Find ways to express yourself creatively and use the time on your commute to pursue these endeavours. Be open to trying different things that you may have previously written off, such as sketching or writing poetry.
5. Life admin and to-do lists
Increase your productivity by setting aside time on your daily commute to create to-do lists, which can be checked off throughout the day. By committing tasks to paper in the form of a list, you have a far greater chance of completing them. A commute can also be a great time to do other life admin tasks; such as, contacting friends and relatives, checking finances and responding to emails.
Turn your commute into a study session. This could be anything from a foreign language, to an online course. Dedicating a daily allowance of time to furthering your education is a powerful way of boosting your self esteem and putting yourself in good stead with career progressions.
7. Catch up with real world news (not Facebook news)
Instead of the daily scroll through memes and snippets of predominantly inconsequential information, find a news source to dip into each day and become knowledgeable on the unfolding drama that is global politics and events.
You might feel that the news is too depressing and what's the point of putting yourself in a bad mood before the day has even properly begun, however it is important to have an awareness of what is playing out on the global stage.
Be selective with your news sources and if shock/salacious news bites isn't your thing opt for more respected publications that offer a variety of opinion pieces and feature articles, alongside with the daily headlines. Doing this will make you a more interesting conversationalist and more cultured as a person.
8. Immerse yourself in your surroundings
Take the time to mindfully observe the world around you. Challenge yourself to see things without allowing judgemental thoughts to cross your mind. If you've never attempted this before, you may be shocked at how quickly and often your mind passes judgement on the people and things that it sees.
Try losing yourself in the scenery passing by your window, without sinking into deep thought, or people watch (in a non-obvious way) without making assumptions about them. Just simply observe the world and practice accepting it just as it is.
9. Plan trips and your holiday time (weekends inc.)
Looking forward to upcoming holidays and planned events is important for boosting morale, especially during winter months when a touch of S.A.D can affect our positivity. Use your time spent commuting to plan trips away; such as a weekend city break, or a skiing holiday for the Christmas break.
If you're saving money, then enjoy planning ways to spend your time off from work. This could be as simple as taking yourself (and the dog) off for a long walk somewhere new, or trying out that delicious recipe you saved the other day.
Make a calmness, or meditation, practice part of your daily routine by incorporating it into your commute. There are apps you can use to help inspire you with these mindful moments, such as the Calm app. Everyday a new Daily Calm installment is made available, which is a 10 minute guided meditation on a different topic each time.