When you are looking into a new living space or applying to a new job, one of the first things you consider is probably the commute. How much time do I have to spend (waste) just getting back and forth each day? But no matter the answer, this daily trip doesn’t need to be lost time. Once you’ve calculated your commute, check out this list of things you can do to maximize that time.
1. Catch Up on Reading
If you drive, consider audio books. If you take public transportation, grab your favorite book, e-reader, newspaper or magazine. This way you can mentally escape, keep up with current affairs or learn.
2. Learn a New Language or Skill
Speaking of learning, why not use the time to pick up a new skill? There are plenty of CDs, audio or paper books and apps to choose from when it comes to learning new languages and skills. Perhaps you’ve delayed tackling this because you just didn’t have the time. Well, now this time is a gift that you can use to better yourself and possibly improve your career options.
3. Start Working
To avoid the dreaded first hour of checking emails and voice messages at work, you can get started while en route to work. While it may be too much to spend your entire commute working, it can be a great way to set you up for a productive day (and maybe even help you skip out a little early and beat rush hour!).
4. Relax & Reflect
Commutes can be a great way to unwind and check in on your goals, personal and financial. Bring a notebook or try meditating about how to stay on track, what makes you happy and what areas of your life could be improved. This is a great time to review your budget or plan ahead for your weekly grocery trip. It can also be a good time to review what you purchased that day and make sure you’re staying on track with your bigger financial goals like buying a home.
5. Boost Your Brain
Aside from checking in on the news and listening to podcasts or TED talks, you can use games to help you sharp. Consider crossword puzzles or Sudoku for memory enhancement benefits.
6. Check in With Friends or Make New Ones
Since you likely have limited time for communication throughout the day, consider communicating with friends and family or checking in on social networks during your commute. The travel time is also great for making new friends if you are looking to find people with a similar schedule and lifestyle.
7. Create a To-Do List
Make a to-do list and prioritize your responsibilities so you can focus on more important tasks at work. You can also work on your calendar to help plan and organize your day, month or year ahead of time. If you can’t actually write it down because you are driving, you could use a voice recorder or memo app on your phone.
Sometimes, it is best to set your alarm and close your eyes. If you are able to catch a power nap during your commute, this can provide a boost of energy.
In an age where time is so valuable, you don’t have to chalk up your commute to lost time. Find out which activity can best maximize your commute and start getting more from your travel time. When trying to find the right neighborhood for you, your commute can be a major factor, so make sure you pick a commute that works for you.
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