I am now in my third year of uni and for the last year I have commuted each day… 3 hours there, 3 hours back. You maths genius’ would’ve worked out that I travel 6 hours a day when I’m scheduled to go into uni. That’s around 3 times a week. So I guess I would consider myself a bit of a pro when it comes to travelling – my journey includes a car journey to the station, a train, a tube and another train to the campus – and during this time, especially now that I’m reaching the most crucial part of my course, I have found a few ways of staying productive on the commute.
If you travel 6 hours a day like me or just 15 minutes, let that time be productive!
- Read a book
This one is something that I’ve always done without even thinking about it, I read for fun – I always have a book to read, I have to finish any book that I start, even if I’m hating it. Weird OCD habit. The train is a great place to read because you can really zone out from all the chaos of rush hour and escape into your own little world.
Staying on the theme of escaping into your “own little world”, I have mastered the art of meditation on public transport. No weird “ohm-ness” going on with my legs crossed or anything like that, but for the past few months I’ve really become a fan of the Calm app. It’s a guided meditation app that’s really easy to follow and just allows your mind to switch off from everything around you. Earphones in, world out.
- Brain training
Something which might not seem entirely productive is brain training. There have been times when I’ve been so tired on my commute that I’ve become a victim of the fall-asleep-head-roll-mouth-open gaze that seems to affect the best of us (only the very best, apparently) and so I’ve found that doing a sudoku or crossword puzzle helps to keep my brain alive and awake, as well as keeping my eyes open. And besides, something that is training your brain and making you think hard that early in the morning can only ever be a good thing, right?
- GET WORK DONE!
I’m not one to sit on the train on my laptop, mainly because I can’t be bothered to lug around my MacBook with me all day, but I do find that if I’ve made notes on something I aim to do when I get home, or if I’ve read a few chapters of a book I’m studying for my dissertation, then I always feel much better and productive once I’m off the train. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re on a train with no distractions. Of course, if you really want to work on your laptop on the train then that’s great and totally admirable, I only wish my laptop wasn’t so heavy so I could do the same!
- Make a to-do list
My last point is probably my favourite and most-used. Making a to-do list is so productive for me because it allows me to really plan my time well. Travelling to and from uni every day can take it’s toll on my productivity levels because travelling is so tiring. When I get home I tend to just want to sit around and catch up on Mad Men, but having a list of things that I need to get done helps me to focus. Ticking things off the list is so satisfying that I find that this alone is enough to make me want to
reluctantlyclick away from Netflix and do some work!
Of course there are days when all I want to do on my commute is listen to music, zone out and pretend I’m in a totes-emosh music video whilst gazing out of the window (probably listening to Adele, just to be a total cliché), but I’m trying my best to keep those days to a minimum and try something productive instead.
What do you do on a long commute, I’d love to try some of your ideas – I have another 6 months of commuting ahead of me!