Vidya Kathirgamalingam - 22 Jan, 2020

How to make the most of your commute

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Holidays are over and most of you are back to the 9-5 grind of work life! According to the 2019 Housing, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, the average worker’s commute will take up a total of 4.5 hours of their time a week.

That’s a considerable amount of time, yet most people will spend this time aimlessly staring into space as they anticipate their stop.

But in a fast-paced and modern world everyone can relate to the saying that time is valuable, so why not use it in a more productive way?

Here are some tips on how to make the most of your commute.

Catch up on some sleep

It’s no secret that a good sleep is the key to productivity, a healthy lifestyle and proficient mental functioning. Yet according to a 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry into Insufficient Sleep, 33%–45% of adults aren’t getting the sleep they need. If you’re lucky enough to score a seat peak hour train or bus, then you might as well make use of having the luxury. Take the opportunity to have a quick power nap, especially if you have a long commute.

Start working early

If you have little tasks to do throughout the day, such as making a quick phone call or sending an email, why not just get it over and done with on the train? It’s so easy to forget about the small things and continually put them off. However, once they are out of the way, you will find that your schedule will be much less hectic.    

Get ahead of your day

Everyone dreads coming into work, only to be met with a whole pile of tasks to do during the day. The anxiety and stress may start to kick in, and before you know it you’re a hot emotional mess at work. This situation can be avoided altogether if you plan out your day. Consider checking your emails on the train, writing a to-do list and updating your calendar regularly.

Learn something new

Have you ever thought of learning a new language? Or learning about politics or current affairs? There are a range of online resources that can enrich your knowledge.  For instance, apps such as DuoLingo and Memrise can teach you languages from the comfort of your own phone and downloading news apps can ensure you are well informed about the world around you.  

Relax by listening to music

Nobody likes listening to the sound of a screeching train or a screaming baby in your carriage. Block it all out by popping in some headphones and playing your favourite tunes. It’s the perfect way to de-stress and get into the right mindset.

Read a book or listen to an audiobook

Because of the distraction of the Internet, so many people have forgotten how enjoyable it is to just read a book. It comes at no surprise that the number of students in Australia who fail to meet the national standards in reading has risen 10% since 2000. But the experience of reading can be quite rewarding.  According to the Australian Reading Hour, reading can help alleviate stress by 68% in adults. So pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or if a physical book is too bulky for your bag, there are a range of apps such as Audible and Kindle that allow you to conveniently read or listen to books electronically.

Check on your loved ones

Life can get busy, and at times it can be easy to prioritise everything else over those who matter.  If you are not driving, then take the time to check in on your family and your friends. Not only will this show that you really care, but it will also boost your mood throughout the day.

Gone are the days where you dread getting on that cramped bus or train – these tips are guaranteed to make your commute an enjoyable experience.

Words by Vidya Kathirgamalingam

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