Unless you work from home or down the street, your morning commute to work doesn’t have to be a waste of time.
Your time is valuable, and instead of just sitting in a car or on the train, there are many ways to make your commute productive.
With a little strategic planning and the right mindset, you can take advantage of your commute by either relaxing, learning a new skill, or making some extra income.
Here are 14 ways to make the most of your morning commute.
1. Walk or bike to work (if possible)
While it may not make your commute shorter, exercising in the morning can help you in stay in shape and sharpen your brain.
If you’re worried about arriving at the office all sweaty in your business clothes, take public transit to work and then walk home instead. A friend of mine lost weight and improved her health by walking home from work each day during the summer.
Related: 25 ways to save money by going green
2. Listen to an audio book or music
Do you have a morning anthem that helps boost your energy for the day? Turn it on and listen to your favourite tunes.
Classical music is also a great choice as it has been shown to relieve stress levels and enhance mental alertness.
If music is not your thing first thing in the morning, listen to an audio book instead. This is not only great for your development, but it also supports your ongoing learning.
3. Create a goal list for the day
Instead of creating a to-do list, write down your goals for the day.
Limit it to three items you need to accomplish for the day. No more, no less. Too few items will make you procrastinate and too many items will become a long to-do list that will never get completed.
4. Sell your stuff on eBay or Etsy
Sell your unwanted items on eBay or crafts on Esty. Instead of zoning out during your morning commute, this turns your morning routine into a productive means that earns you extra money.
Related: 10 items to ditch from your closet
5. Listen to a podcast
Whether it’s industry related or for your personal development, listening to a podcast is a great way to spend your morning commute.
6. Leave early
Most people are in a rush during their morning commute, and this can often set an unhealthy tone for the day.
Instead, leave your house 10 or 20 minutes earlier, which gives you plenty of time to arrive to work (just in case traffic is heavy or there’s a delay on public transit).
Leaving early is empowering and gives you a better sense of control. You’ll feel relieved knowing that you have time to grab a cup of coffee if you wish, instead of stressing about getting to work on time.
Related: How to save money on coffee
7. Read articles in your industry
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or looking to get a promotion at work, it’s important to be informed and know what’s happening or trending in your industry.
This also gives you knowledge and ideas to discuss with others in your network. Use the Pocket app to save articles to your phone or tablet.
8. Network with your contacts and catch up with friends
We are often so busy with our working that lives, that sometimes we leave little time to network and connect with friends. Use your morning commute to make meaningful contact or conversation with your friends and colleagues.
9. Read a good book
If you’ve making the excuse that you haven’t had time to read, use your morning commute to change that.
Whether it’s a fiction or non-fiction book, choose something that inspires you. A twenty-minute commute to and from work each day may not seem like much time to read a book, but you can easily finish one in less than a month.
Need some book inspiration? Read the book that changed my life: The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
If you enjoy writing, then why not use your morning commute to develop a side hustle by freelance writing. Many online magazines and blogs frequently look for subject matter experts to contribute to their site. Pick a niche and find a site that fits your interest.
Another productive idea is to start your own blog. It’s easier than you think to launch your very own blog and you don’t need any tech experience to get started.
This is a great way to do something that you love, make extra money and create an online presence in your niche. Use this easy step-by-step guide on how to start your own blog today.
11. Be present
If you’ve ever taken public transportation to work, you may have noticed people staring off into space, sleeping or with a solemn look on their face. Instead of following suit, be present and live in the moment.
Listen and observe those around you to generate ideas which could help your work. This works well for creative types and entrepreneurs.
Instead of searching for ways to pass the time or to distract you, it’s important to be present. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to help us become more focused and experience more clarity in our decision making, which can lead to better judgment.
12. Get ready the night before
Instead of letting your morning routine become a mad rush to sprint out the door and get to work, spend 15-10 minutes the night before preparing for the following day.
This can include setting up breakfast, making lunch, laying out your outfit and getting your work bag organized.
Related: 18 ways to start your morning right
13. Learn a new language
Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Maybe you’re planning an international trip and learning a few key phrases will come in handy. You might also work in an organization that does business in another country where English in not the first language.
Knowing how to speak another language can give you a leg up when it comes to advancing in your career.
Borrow books and CDs from the library or download a free app, such as Duolingo to help kick start your language learning.
14. Rehearse and talk to yourself
Perhaps you work in a position that involves public speaking or giving presentations. Rehearsing and practicing your speech during your morning commute can help prepare you for the day.
Even if you don’t have a job that involves public speaking or giving presentations, it’s important to visualize your short and long term goals. Is what you’re doing today going to get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow? Next month? In one year from now?
“How you start your day is how you live your day. How you live your day is how you live your life.” – Louise Hay
Give yourself a pep talk or repeat positive affirmations. It’ll encourage you to focus on the good, improve your confidence and set a positive tone for the day.14 ways to make the most of your morning commuteClick To Tweet
Over to you — how do you like to spend your morning commute?
1. How to look the park for a professional interview
2. How to be rich in your 20s
3. How to feel like you’ve accomplished something today
4. How to get stuff done when you’re not motivated
5. How to get motivated: 4 steps that really work!
Take Control Of Your Money
Join over 6,000 others who have chosen to take control of their money. Sign up for my free newsletter to receive exclusive money-saving tips!