Commuting is the least exciting part of life for many of us. But what if you can make your commute productive?
According to analysis published a year ago by the TUC, UK workers spend an inordinate amount of time travelling to and from work. For rail commuters, this is especially troublesome: they’re spending around two hours and eleven minutes in the train each day. That’s like travelling from Brighton to Clapham Junction and back again, with a little time to spare to stop for a bite to eat! Bear in mind that this is an average figure, and so there are some commuters who are going even further than that!
Two hours per day is ten hours per week, which means nearly five-hundred hours per year. If it’s even close to being true that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master an art form, then over the course of a working life we could have wasted enough time to master the violin.
Clearly, this will not do. But how can we fill the time in a way that’s productive and self-enhancing? And, perhaps more importantly, how can we keep ourselves amused so that the time goes quicker?
Listen to a Podcast
Nowadays, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to podcasts. There are literally millions of them out there, with new entries being released every day, and enormous back-catalogues to get through. If you have a particular area of interest, whether it’s novel-writing, science, history, or Brexit, then there’s a podcast to suit — so why not track it down?
Learn a New Language
Getting to grips with a new language requires a little bit of practice. So why not take advantage of those hours you’re spending in isolation to pick it up? If you’re alone in the car, then you can talk along with an instructional audio app. If you’re on the train, then doing this might attract a few strange looks — but once you’ve mastered the basics of a language, you can move on to foreign-language audio books, starting with something simple, like a child’s book. Speaking of which …
If you’re on a train or bus, then a paperback might provide a way to get through the journey. But audio books mean that you can keep your hands free and your attention focussed on the world around you. Just about every book ever released now comes with an audiobook equivalent, and companies like Audible offer free trial memberships to get you hooked.
Making good use of the hours in the day often means taking the time to make plans. Your commute is a perfect opportunity to do this. Often when you’re sitting in silence, you’ll do this unconsciously. But if you formalise the effort a little, you might find that your plans are a little more actionable. Take a notepad and pen and jot down checklists of the things you’re going to do the following day, and then refer back later to see how well you did!