10 ways to make the most out of your commute

Whether you're driving or taking the train, your commute to work can seem like it drags on... and our go-to way to pass the time is gluing our eyes to our phones for the duration of the trip. As someone who commuted for 10 years I understand how that time stuck in traffic could be frustrating... What if you flipped your mindset and looked at that 20 minutes, hour, or two hours as "bonus time" and used it to your advantage? You in? Thought so. See below for some ways to best utilize your commute:

1. Listen to a podcast / Podcasts are great for both drivers and passengers. You can choose to listen to podcasts on movie reviews, business, healthy eating, true crime, boosting your confidence, reducing your debt, and millions more. The possibilities are literally endless for podcast topics making this the perfect addition to your commute.

2. Read (or listen to) a book / If you drive it will obviously need to be a book on tape, but there are millions of options out there. Fun tip: challenge yourself to read a book every day, week, or some other duration (depending on the length of your trip) and choose themes like: books on success and business, wealth, goal-setting, fiction, or whatever suits your fancy. For books where you plan to learn, use Blinkist. It gives you key ideas from experts in bite-size text and audio so you can learn even more in a shorter period of time - most run about 15 minutes!

3. Journal / Obviously this is only relevant if you aren't driving, but getting your thoughts out is incredibly beneficial. Whether you write out your intentions for the day or list out what you are grateful for, journaling can be both therapeutic and productive. This is my favorite blank journal and this one only takes 5 minutes of your day. Both this one and this one are more in depth with space for goals, gratefulness, meals, and fitness planning.

4. Take notes / Writing out a to-do list for the day or for after work can save you time and stop you from forgetting tasks. If you are driving you can use an app like Rev to transcribe anything you speak into the phone into text. You can also make yourself a voice memo or use Google Voice as long as you are keeping your eyes on the road. Use this time to get all of your ideas and thoughts out of your head!

5. Meal plan / Another that is only suited for train or public transit commuters, planning out your meals and shopping list for the week can save you a lot of time (and stop you from grabbing unhealthy, expensive take-out for lunch and dinner.) You can use apps like MealBoard (Apple only, $4) , FoodPlanner (Apple and Android, free and $4 versions), Mealime (Apple and Android, free) and Paprika (Apple and Android, free) to meal plan and create shopping lists. Emeals does charge you monthly after a 14 day trial but allows you to send your grocery lists to the store and have them delivered to you. How cool is that?

6. Meditate / If you are driving you can't quite close your eyes, but you can still take the time to reflect on your day and work out any negative feelings you may have. You can calm your mind and work on your breathing which is great for relieving the tension caused by bumper-to-bumper traffic! If you are on a train and can close your eyes, try using a meditation app like Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, or Buddhify.

7. Learn a language / Use your time to learn a new language, either through an app or a program like Duolingo, Babbel, or Memrise. This can be great if you have a trip planned or if you just want to learn a new language. Think how much of an asset you will be at work if you become bilingual!

8. Phone a friend / You know that friend or family member you haven't talked to in ages? Pick a day of the week to call someone you haven't spoken to lately. Even if it is only 20 minutes, I can promise you it will make their day (and make the time will go by faster, too!)

9. Power nap / Again, this only works if you aren't driving, but getting a 20 minute nap in can boost your productivity and give you more energy for the rest of the day.

10. Listen to music / Sometimes listening to your favorite jam is all you need to get yourself in the right mood for the day. Create playlists for different moods or situations depending on how you feel!

What's a good commute if you don't have the perfect bag? Have no fear. Check out this post where I outline some of my favorites!

What is your favorite way to make your commute more endurable or productive? Let us know in the comments!



Hi, I'm Courtney, and I'm the founder of Courtney Schrank Design Studio. I help high-powered female executives maintain their identity and well-being while working for someone else. Read more about my services here!

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