Use your commute to expand your brain and read the classics. There’s nothing more frustrating than wasting time, that is unless you’re stuck wasting time on a busy train, full of grumpy people, on your way to work on a miserable morning. Unlikely as it may sometimes seem, it is possible to turn that hellish commute into something to look forward to.
It’s important to remember that while ploughing through emails on the train can make you feel productive, the chances are it’ll put you in a worse mood and make you feel as though you’ve earned ‘little breaks’ during the rest of your working day. Use your commute time wisely, here’s how.
Learn a Language
Learning a language can be a great thing to do on those lengthy commutes, but getting motivated in the mornings can be tricky.
Duolingo provides a great option for those lucky enough to have a ‘hands-free’ commute i.e. bus, train or taxi. This clever little app is totally free to use and has been proven to be incredibly effective at teaching a language.
Each language course is presented as a series of simple but fun games and the option to compare scores with your friends in the leaderboard is a nice touch for the competitive. It could even be that a group of colleagues embark on this language adventure together.
Play a Game
If you’re not so much into the idea of playing a language game but do consider yourself a bit of a gamer then fear not. There are new online creations recreating the old versions of classics such as roulette or slots machines, which can be a way to beat the monotony of the commute and make those never-ending travel minutes whizz by!
Although some would argue this isn’t necessarily the most productive use of time, that’s quite a negative way to think about it. We so rarely get uninterrupted time to ourselves and spending a few minutes in the mornings or evenings allowing our brains to relax and play is hugely beneficial.
Those who have always enjoyed gaming will understand the feeling of satisfaction from achieving little goals, a boost like this is the perfect way to elevate your mood, ready for the day ahead.
Read the Classics
Unfortunately, some of us have to cycle or drive to work This means that language apps and free to play games, whilst brilliant, are out of the equation. Hands have got to stay on the wheel! However, most modern cars are fitted with AUX cables, or Bluetooth, which means that you can play tracks from your mobile phone directly through your car’s speakers. Earphones are, of course, the obvious choice for cyclists
Audibooks are a fantastic way to exercise your brain on the commute. So many of us wish we had more time to devote to reading and, while there is something a little more romantic about curling up with a cup of tea and a book, being able to read in the car or on your bike is just as mind expanding.
Many of the classics are even available as free downloads, so instead of listening to the breakfast radio presenter warbling on, why not make your way through some literary masterpieces?
Prepare for a Better Night’s Sleep
Many of us focus on the importance of the morning commute and understand that by spending it wisely, we can begin the working day in a better mood. However, many of us also forget about the importance of the evening commute. If you have a particularly stressful job or one that you sometimes struggle to switch off from then it can affect the quality of your sleep.
Quality of sleep is of vital importance not just for our performance at work, but also for the health of our bodies and brains. Trying meditative exercises on your commute is a really effective way of winding down after a long day. If you’re the kind of person who finds meditation easy, then simply plug in some headphones and get to it. If you find it a little more difficult then mobile applications like Headspace can make the process much less daunting.
Finally, if you’ve tried apps, but just can’t seem to switch off then it’s been shown that activities like knitting, needlework or crochet can be as effective at relaxing our brains as meditation. The repetition of movement, concentration on forming stitches and the feel of textiles between your fingers is very soothing; and if you’re obsessed with productivity, the good news is you’re making a scarf at the same time!
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