It’s 7:30 am. You’re on the road on your way to the office. Horns are honking, brake lights everywhere. You let out a frustrated sigh. You’re already stressed and the work day hasn’t even officially begun yet.
If you’re one of the unfortunate commuters stuck in traffic every morning, studies have shown that your productivity and happiness levels dramatically decrease within the first 15 minutes of your drive to work. If your productivity has already declined before you even step through your office doors, you can bet you’re getting a lot less done in the day because of that hour you spend focusing on road rage and traffic every morning.
But even if you’re able to take the train or bus to work, you can still fall into the trap of not using your commute time as productively as you could.
Whatever route you take to work, it’s important to use your commuting time wisely to help you get prepared and energized for the day ahead.
Here Are The Best Ways to Boost Your Productivity During your Morning Commute:
If You Commute by Bus or Train –
1. Go through emails – Every morning you come into work with a new list of emails to sort through. Some are important and need immediate action, others can be ignored, and some require further categorization. The point is, you spend a lot of time organizing your emails and planning your day around the priorities that they present. Get through the sorting and organizing during your train ride and when you come in to work, you’ll be ready to go.
2. Make a to-do list – You have many tasks and subtasks and need to decipher which you need to get done today. Your train or bus ride can be that peaceful thinking time you use to plan accordingly for the events of the rest of your day. Use apps like Evernote, Trello, or Asana to make it easy to create your to-do list from your phone.
3. Feed your brain – Read up on top industry news and personal advancement books to get your mind geared up to tackle new problems and tasks. Find books related to your career field and read through your favorite relevant news sources to wake up your mind and get yourself in the right mindset for a productive day. Feedly is a great app that will let you collect different news in one streamlined newsfeed so you can access all the latest industry news together.
4. Don’t talk on the phone – Follow public transportation etiquette and don’t disturb others around you by joining conference calls or having heated discussions with your business partner on the train. Chances are, a lot of your fellow passengers are also on their way to work and are trying their best to use their commuting time wisely. With YouMail, you can let all your calls go to voicemail and know that important callers are being taken care of. The YouMail Business Plan offers features that can automatically delegate unopened voicemails to a coworker’s email address so they can handle the call for you.
5. Don’t go through social media or watch shows – Take advantage of your extra time and prepare yourself mentally for a productive day. Don’t waste your morning commute watching a show or going through social media as these won’t be boosting your productivity levels.
If You Drive to Work –
First things first. If you are driving – especially in traffic – you shouldn’t be doing anything to distract yourself from the road and the other drivers around you. The following tips are suggestions that work for most people, but don’t try one if you think it would impair your driving abilities.
1. Listen to podcasts and audio books – Some people enjoy listening to their morning talk shows but not all radio talk shows present productivity boosting material. In fact, some humor in talk shows can be cynical and satirical and actually encourage your road rage. Instead, try listening to podcasts or audio books that will get your mind thinking positively and have content that is related to your field. Some to consider are Beyond the To-Do List, any TED podcasts, and The 5AM Miracle.
2. Carpool with a business associate – If you know a coworker that lives near you, why not carpool together? It saves gas, you’ll get to use the carpool lane, and you have someone to brainstorm with every day on your way to work. This is a great way to discuss tasks and projects you’re both on, kind of like a mini meeting to get you thinking productively at the start of your day.
3. Again, don’t make calls – Resist the urge to join conference calls while you’re in traffic or just driving in general. You won’t be able to focus all of your attention on either the drive or the call and you’ll end up being a poor driver and not an active participator in the call. Remember that YouMail can send your missed callers an Auto-Reply message that lets clients and coworkers alike know that you’re unavailable and when you’ll return.
Tomorrow on your way to work, don’t get sucked into the traffic jam or let yourself feel uncomfortable on the public train or bus. Get yourself ready for a productive day with the tips above!