6 Ways to Use Your Commute Time Effectively

In our fast-paced world where you’re always wishing there were more hours in the day, daily activities can really challenge our patience. Commuting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the day for many of us, especially when it seems like time is ticking away in standstill traffic. However, commuting is also a great opportunity to be productive. Commuting can be used as an opportunity to set your day’s goals, network and socialize, or simply refocus as you prepare for the week ahead. Whether you’re carpooling, catching the bus or train, or hailing a cab, these productive hacks are sure to inspire the boss babe in all of us.

1. Organize Your Thoughts

Usually, our mornings are a blur of rushed activities. With getting dressed, dropping off the kids to school, meal prep, and so on, there’s hardly any time to pause and take a breath. Use the time spent commuting to gather your thoughts so you can start the day with a centralized focus. For example, you can update your calendar; work out the details for a project or presentation you’ve been working; or respond to those important emails you’ve been putting off. Taking the time to focus and organize your thoughts can really help create more effective solutions.

2. Plan the Day Ahead

With your thoughts and ideas sorted, you can now move on to plan the day before you start it. Almost all successful people in this world start their day with a clear plan in mind because it helps get more things marked off their to-do lists. Isn’t that what’s productivity is all about? Planning ahead allows you to get straight to work when you get to the office. For example, using apps like Evernote or Wunderlist can help you make lists and keep journals.

Perhaps think of questions to ask yourself such as: What will make this day a success? With whom are you meeting? What are you trying to accomplish? What might throw you off? How will you handle it? Do you expect to have any difficult conversations? How will you approach them? Your day is much more likely to be productive if you think it through and plan it out.

3. Listen to Self-Improvement Podcasts and Audiobooks

It’s ideal to start a day on a positive note to get the maximum productivity out of yourself. If you haven’t already done this after waking up in the morning, now is the perfect time. Listening to audiobooks is, of course, not the only option for people walking, driving, or riding to work.

Audible, owned by Amazon, has the world's biggest selection of audiobooks, podcasts, and listenable programming—all in your pocket. With constant library updates and new releases across all genres, there’s no way you can be bored. Podcasts like Entrepreneurs on Fire, Oprah Super Soul, Being Boss, and Behind the Brilliance are inspiring for any entrepreneurs or business professional. By listening to audiobooks or podcasts, you’ll learn more about the world, business, and yourself.

4. Make Your Phone Calls

Get casual and regular phone calls to friends and family out of the way during your commute. It will be a task off the to-do list for the day, however insignificant it may seem. You can also set up telephone meetings during this time, so you can speak with clients, team members, or partners on the way to the office. You can also use this time to take care of personal calls such as scheduling doctor’s appointments, etc.

5. Take an Online Course

Take your commuting productivity to the next level by taking an online course. However, this only works for those who spend a good amount of uninterrupted time on the move because you really need to be attentive or you won’t learn anything. Taking a half-hour class each day for a month can teach you a new skill.

6. Decompress and Recharge

This is harder said than done. In our jet-set world, there’s always so much to do and so little time. However, you can use your commute—on the way to work or on the way home—to simply take a breath and decompress before or after your workday. Taking 5 to 10 minutes to clear your mind can actually help you be more productive because you won’t feel as overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities. Each person decompresses differently, so whether it’s listening to music, reading the newspaper, or simply sitting in silence, do what works for you!

When striving to make your commute more productive, it’s important to avoid defaulting to your typical time fillers. Try to use your commute time to bring yourself closer to the life you want to live. Make a choice that will leave you feeling more accomplished and refreshed when you arrive at your destination. 

At the Long Island Center for Business and Professional Women, we provide women with skills for leadership, knowledge for improving business through networking, and personal and professional motivation opportunities. To stay up-to-date on all LI Center news and events, you can follow us on Instagram or like us Facebook