Article: Making the most of your commute time

Life @ Work

Making the most of your commute time

No, this is not a time management sermon rather an advice on how you can stop thinking of long, boring commute hours as a chore and turn it into an opportunity to recalibrate yourself.
Making the most of your commute time

Whether you are in Bengaluru, Delhi or Mumbai, traffic gridlocks have really messed our lives up, haven’t they? Now, on an average, have you thought about how much time you spend behind the wheels or in public transport? A considerable amount? In fact, the moment we wake up we are haunted by the traffic or sheer distance of our home from work. To add to our horror and if we are really running out of luck then we might not even find our fixed rickshaw/auto-wallah because someone else was preying upon them. Ouch!

According to a survey conducted in 2015, Indians spend more time behind wheels as compared to their counterparts in Australia, China, Philippines, and Thailand. The statistics did shock us since about one-fourth of the participants also revealed that they use mobile phones and access social media or take selfies. Dangerous and stressful, a combination we would rather avoid, no? 

Having said that you should make the most of the time you find yourself switching from one lane to another or between various mediums of transport. The time keeps ticking and you must reclaim it and recalibrate yourself. Why? Well, so that when you do enter office precincts you are motivated to sail through the day sans bad mood/temper. 

Switch off

Yes. This is particularly addressed to days when you have a tough start to the morning. Your maid might have taken a leave; your pet might have chewed on your favorite pair of shoes; your kids might have been cranky and raised a hell in your heavenly state of mind, but whatever it be can you allow any of it to weigh you down and spoil the rest of the day? In fact, your primary responsibility is to diffuse the anger bomb and start your day fresh. Deal with situations at home when you are home. In this transition period, do something achieve a Buddha state of mind. Read a book, listen to music or become a people watcher (this, in particular, is amusing)! If you drive to work, then listen to podcasts and challenge yourself to keep your hands off your phone. 

Prioritize your health

If you stay close to your workplace then how about walking or cycling your way? Of course, you may not be living in a bicycle-loving city or country, but how about giving it a shot? At first, you will make an excuse and blame it on the weather, but can you pretend it to be pleasant one day in a week? Or, if you can’t put on the sweaty glow for the rest of the day, maybe give walking back home a shot? The good news is that besides health benefits as recorded in a UK study, physical exercise can also help you gain clarity or focus. In another British study, employees reported to being productive on days they exercised as compared to when they didn’t. 

Prepare your task list

How about setting your agenda for the day or checking things off your list so as not to begin from the beginning. Make notes on your mobile or make a mental note of it; listen to your voice messages or check your emails. This should allow you a smooth transition and prepare you for your day at a place where you spend a major share of your waking hours. By the way, if you are driving, be a little inventive and use a voice recorder to make notes! Go back to your cubicle and play your list or thoughts to yourself. Call it a post, post brain storming session. 

Establish a social connect

Yes, we did say plug into radio or your favorite music or podcast, but according to studies conducted by behavioral scientists Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Juliana Schroeder of the University of California at Berkeley, talking to strangers can improve a commuter’s well-being. And, one won’t necessarily be glum about having to travel for long. You might have your eyebrow raised to the findings of this study and it’s alright. If you are the kind who likes to keep to themselves then there’s no pressure. However, a few words exchanged (practice caution nonetheless) do no one any harm. Say hello to people who you bump into daily; engage in a conversation (talk about the weather, politics etc) which has nothing to do with your personal life. 

Will you agree if we say that you can change the entire course of your day by making a few mindful decisions when you are going to the office? You deserve a positive and wholesome experience and so do the people around you. Stop showing up all worn out at work. Get out of the ‘I am forever tired’ garb and enjoy your time doing what you set out for. What say?

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Topics: Life @ Work

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