The average American, working a full-time job, spends roughly 4.35 hours a week commuting to and from work. That adds up to over 200 hours a year! Many choose to look at this time as a burden but when thought about differently, a great deal can be achieved in 200 productively spent hours. Demand Rapid Transit (DRT) decreases both waiting and commuting time which subsequently increases the reliability of a service. With increased reliability, it is reasonable for commuters to view their commute time as a credible window in which to get productive and gain perspective for the day ahead. With this in mind, we take a look at how to boost output and wellbeing while on your daily commute.
1. Strategize your day
Though many people view their morning commute as a mundane experience; best tolerated with the help of their favorite playlist or the pleasing feedback loop of a mobile game, there are alternatives. A paper from Harvard Business School found multiple benefits “to using your commute as an opportunity to transition into your work role”. By defining what you have to do and beginning to visualize the structure of your day you are developing skills of positive prospection that help you to be more successful and happier at work. So, although it might be easy to think of travel time as that last moment of “freedom” before entering the workplace it is much more productive to view it as a transition period. Similarly, your journey home can be used for “taking stock”, reviewing what you achieved during the day and resetting for the following day.
2. Learn from the best
There are thousands of incredible podcasts out there covering every subject imaginable. Why not supplement your transition into work mode by gaining insight from some of the leading figures in your field? On the subject of Future Transport alone, you can find episodes featuring planners and academics who are right at the forefront of the latest advancements within the transport sector. Weekly podcasts like Scot Wingo’s Vehicle 2.0 are engaging and thought-provoking and inspire a wellspring of ideas to set you up for your day ahead.
Your daily commute may not seem like the best place to cultivate a greater sense of calm but if you are pushed for time and feeling stressed it does offer a moment to reset and harness a little clarity. Just ten minutes of guided-meditation while en route can help ease anxiety, build mental energy and improve focus; all contributing to your overall wellbeing. The health benefits of such practice are now widely documented within the scientific community and for those just starting there are many ways to begin. Check out this piece by New-York-based writer Chris Plehal which details his experience using popular meditation app headspace whilst commuting.