Although the dreaded daily commute can be a real life drainer and zombifier, it needn't be. If you treat your commute as "extra time", you can fill the journey with fun, proactive and even calming activities to set you up or send you off. Here we look at some of the best ways to make your daily commute easier. Whether its sinking in to a good audiobook or using a top mobile app to take the hassle out of finding a parking space, you'll find there are many ways to make your daily back-and-forth both productive and effortless.
1. Create a Music Playlist
When was the last time you felt you hadn't discovered new music in a while? With such busy working days, it's often difficult to wade through the latest artists and stay on top of hidden talent. Why not relive your impassioned youth by unearthing musical gems and building a playlist on-the-go? Spotify, Amazon and iTunes all offer streaming services, but it's their discovery playlists that are the real jewels. Spotify's Discover in particular is fine-tuned against your favourite artists and songs. So, ditch the radio dirge and get out your digital mixtape.
2. Listen to an Audiobook
Although the jury is divided on the benefits of reading versus listening to novels and books, audiobooks certainly make book consumption a lot easier on-the-go. After all, commuting is the perfect time to seek out modern bookclub recommendations and classics you've never got around to reading. With free options like Open Culture and Librivox, and with a variety of top-notch subscription services like Audible and Overdrive, if you don't already listen to audiobooks on your commute, now is the ideal time to start.
3. Pre-Prepare Your Commute with Apps
If your commute involves a drive, it's always a pain getting into town and realising that your regular parking space is gone. With unique apps like Parkhound, you can geolocate a perfect spot in advance or at the very last minute, taking the stress out of your journey and preventing your from circling endlessly like a parking vulture.
Meditation is absolutely not a specialist discipline requiring the right clothes or setting. You really can incorporate meditation into your daily commute by using the time to shut off from the world around you. This will involve putting away your phone and focusing on yourself. Although meditation thrives on quiet, noisy environments provide extremes that you can ultimately overcome. After all, if you can meditate on a bus or train, you have achieved a real skill in your practice. Psychology Today provide some great tips for getting started. Failing that, you can meet meditation in the middle with an app like Smiling Mind.
5. Diversify Your Route
If the endless repetition is turning you into a clockwork mouse, don't be afraid to take new, perhaps longer and more scenic routes. You could try mixing up bus, train and even bicycle routes into your weekly grind. This will stimulate your brain with new environments and take away some of the monotony. Furthermore, if you discover pre-work walking, jogging and cycling adventures, you can get much needed exercise of the body to calm the spirit.
6. Ditch Work and Focus on Meaningful Activities
This is a catch-all category which can be applied to many of our points so far, but it's important to put down your pre-work e-mails, conference calls or spreadsheets, and focus instead on something meaningful to yourself. This could be meditation, exercise or music, as we have mentioned, or it could simply mean talking with friends and family, provided they don't add to your stresses!
7. Change Your Working Lifestyle
We admit that this last point is not for everybody, but a drastic change may involve moving closer to work or, perhaps more ideally, negotiating days to work from home. You won't only save commuting fees in the long term, but you'll feel happier in the short term. Working remotely is all the rage and surveys suggest not only that workers are happier when they work from home, but they are also more productive as well. With that in mind, it may be worth thinking through more significant decisions to make that commute easier.