No one looks forward to their morning commute. That’s a fact of science. You have to either sit in traffic or wade through a sea of bodies to catch a ride on an overcrowded train, only to swim upstream through throngs of people for the pleasure of being packed like a sardine into an elevator. It’s long, it’s arduous, and it’s a pain in the tushy.
In big, densely populated metropolises like San Francisco and New York City some people commute upwards of 90 minutes to get to and from work. That’s a total of [does math] 180 minutes of travel time. Every day. You and I both know that’s silly, but it’s the name of the game.
I assume (and hope) most of you don’t have to travel 90 minutes each way for work, but even if it’s 25 minutes, there are ways to spend that time productively.
One of the most popular reasons people give for not reading more is that they don’t have enough time. It’s hard to carve out dedicated reading time when you have to adult and are exhausted from work. The struggle is super real. Why not solve the issue of not being able to (read: wanting to) read at night by bringing your book with you on your commute when you have uninterrupted “you time” to knock those pages out?
If you’re more of an articles-from-the-internet reader, all is not lost. There are apps out there that allow you to save articles to your phone so you can read them later! (I see the future and it is beautiful!) Pocket is my app of choice but you won’t go wrong with Flipboard or Instapaper. Be careful, though. I still have articles from 18 months ago in my Pocket. It’s overwhelming.
Drivers: press play on that audio book and get a good listening session in while being serenaded by the beautiful, soothing sounds of morning rush hour traffic.
Podcasts are easily accessible, available offline, AND they’ve become so ubiquitous that you can find a podcast about literally anything you want.
(Confession: I’m subscribed to three, THREE, different podcasts about the band Phish. When I say anything, I mean anything)
You can stay current on news, events, and politics. Fill in the gaps of your sports knowledge with the myriad sports podcasts. Grab a few giggles and laughs with acclaimed comedy pods. Hell, even get some insights into the trends of the business world. There are over 250,000 podcasts on iTunes alone, go rummaging around and find something that catches your ear.
CONSCIOUSLY BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY
The time you spend on your commute is necessary and there isn’t much you can do to avoid it. With that in mind, why not try a little experiment and see if you can go your whole commute (one way or both, one day a week or several) without technology. That means that when you’re in transit you’re not face down in your phone screen the whole time.
What are you going to do instead? That’s up to you. You can grab a book (physical only, please) and read with the ambient noise of the city caressing your ears. You can try to talk to someone and make a friend, though they’ll probably be tethered to their phone or laptop, or you can just sit in silence and take in your surroundings. It’s a good place to get some thinking done.
If you drive to work, just keep your phone out of your hands. Simple as that.
Until next time – travel safe.