Although remote and at-home work is gaining acceptance, most jobs still require some on-site face-time. That means you’ll be spending at least some of your professional life in transit. As housing costs continue to rise and many companies relocate, you may be in for a long commute.
However a commute does not have to be wasted time and can become nourishing and productive. If you can make it a point to stay engaged, cultivate useful and revitalizing habits, you may find yourself looking forward to rush hour!
Here are a few things you can try when you want to get more out of your commute.
1. Conference Calls, Meetings, and Check-ins
If you take public transport to work, this can be the perfect place to be a “fly on the wall” for a call that someone else leads. This can also be great opportunity to check in with key clients, colleagues, or friends, provided you can still have a good reception and your environment isn’t too noisy.
Since Apple’s release of the iPod more than fifteen years ago, the growth of podcasting as a medium has exploded. Compared to radio, the barrier for entry is practically nonexistent, which has unleashed a wild variety of shows. Podcasting has been embraced by journalists and has reignited the careers of rebellious comedians who do their best work uncensored. The most popular podcasts now have devoted audiences in the millions.
There are so many podcasts to explore that it’s easy to get lost. If you’re looking for places to start, you can get creative and cerebral inspiration from TED or Creative Mornings, hear interviews with leading entrepreneurs on The Knowledge Project and The James Altucher Show, or dive into the more narrative-based shows from the Radiotopia network, which will reacquaint you with the mystery and wonder of life.
Reading books remains one of the most reliable ways to become a stronger thinker and speaker. If you drive, you can find more wisdom, heroism, romance, humor, and insight in audiobooks than you could possibly absorb in one lifetime.
The personal growth coach Duff McDuffee provides a plan for “reading” quite a lot in the 1.5-2 hours a day many of us spend commuting. In the brilliant So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance, the author Gabriel Zaid suggests a strategy for choosing the right books to cultivate a rich awareness of the world.
A commute may be the most unlikely place to get in touch with your innerself and the true nature of reality. However, now that meditation is in vogue among leaders in tech, media, and the creative industry, more and more people are practicing some form of mental relaxation on the go, including in traffic.
In your commute, you’re likely to face frustrations, distractions, and emotional highs and lows. This makes it the perfect place to practice mindfulness.
You will need to stay focused on the journey, so you can’t close your eyes and go into a trance. Today’s cutting-edge meditation instructors Vincent and Emily Horn have devised a practice called “There Is Driving,” a simple “noting” practice you can use to train your attention as part of your everyday activities.
5. Train Your Brain
The human mind is designed to be stimulated, in youth and throughout life. If you spend less time “zoning out” and more time engaged in challenging your mental reflexes, you will do wonders for your creativity, productivity, and mental health, now and into older age.
You can use your commute to learn a new language, or work through riddles and puzzles.
If you typically drive give mass transit a try if its available in your city – you may be amazed at how much a train or bus ride can shift your perspective and what great ideas arise when you come in closer contact with your community. If you can’t take the train, vary your route to work – take side streets instead of freeways, or allow some extra time to take the scenic route. Another option is to walk or ride a bike to work when possible and get some exercise in the meantime too!
See if you can devise your own ways to make sure your commute is productive.
At Artisan Creative, we believe that a creative life is one of the most rewarding ones you can pursue. Contact us today to leverage our resources and experiences and get more from your career and your life. We hope you enjoy the 449th issue of our weekly a.blog.