I am a routinist, a creature of habit. With that comes a desire for control. Maybe that’s why I’ve come to dread my daily commute. I love my destinations. I love my job I arrive at, and I cherish my family I come home to. But that 45-to-70-minute commute can be soul crushing. The average American commute is 55 minutes round trip, that’s 27.6 minutes each way. For many people, the daily commute is an inevitable part of their routine. At the Driven and Mdrive we often incorporate the 25 degree lines; to me they are a reminder to lean in, be better, and embrace the challenges in life. So let’s lean in, embrace what we can’t change, and dive in on how to make the best of your daily commute.
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Unsuccessful people have excuses, successful people have plans to overcome them. My motto: Tomorrow starts today. One of the keys to a productive commute is having a plan. Maybe it’s a TED Talk you wanted to listen to, a podcast, a friend’s birthday call or an idea for a client; have it prepared beforehand. Save these on a list to your phone so you can click and go.
Above I mentioned making a list on your phone to listen to on your drive. Let’s elaborate on this a bit more. Technology can be a great tool to help you stay productive during your commute. Use your phone to listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or music. You can also use productivity apps to stay organized and get things done on the go. Just make sure you're using technology in a safe and responsible way.
This is really the key here, don’t let these hours of your life slip away without learning or brainstorming. Your commute is a great opportunity to exercise your mind and improve your cognitive skills. I’ll use myself as an example here, I break my commute into one of two categories:
Turn on your favorite music and turn up the volume. This one can be tough for those of us who are productivity addicts. It may seem counterintuitive to listen to music rather than actively trying to learn something new. I need to force myself to listen to music from time to time because that’s when I feel most inspired and get into my creative flow.
Did you know The Driven curates a playlist every month? Check it out here.
Your commute is also a great time to relax and recharge. Listen to soothing music, meditate, or simply enjoy the scenery. If you are spiritual, maybe this is a time you listen to something that strengthens your faith. Quiet is cool, too. I have 3 kids all under 7, so I often try to appreciate the quietness of my drive before I return to the zoo at home.
Alternatively, your commute is a perfect time to make phone calls to connect with friends, family, or clients. If it’s a buddy’s birthday this is the perfect time to give him a call. Time flies when you’re catching up with friends.
If you're commuting with others, use the time to connect and build relationships. I tell my son every day “Leave everyone and everything better than you found it. Make someone’s day better.” Chat with the person next to you. You may learn something, make a connection, or be the uplifting spirit that someone desperately needed that day.
Your day is what you make it. With the tips above I hope you stop coasting and start driving. Your commute can be turned into a time of learning and growing, and maybe even something you look forward to. Stay Driven on your Commute, my friends!
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