Plugging in earphones while commuting makes sense – you have time to kill, but capitalising on this time to add value to you career, skills and personal growth takes effort, planning and will.
Rapidly expanding metropolises all over the country have brought economic prosperity, but transportation has failed to evolve at the same pace, resulting in employees travelling long distances for their jobs. We all know that one person, who travels everyday from Noida to Gurgaon, or from BTM to Marathahalli, or from, Virar to Churchgate, and spends anything between 90 to 150 minutes of their day using the public transport or being struck in a jam.
Many choose to spend these hours every day with earphones plugged in, listening to the same playlists on loop, or more recently, catching up with their favourite shows, or watching a movie. It makes sense – you have a lot of time on your hands to kill, and these options are easy, engaging and require minimal effort. However, capitalising on this time to add value to you career, skills and personal growth takes effort, planning and will. We bring you some ways in which you can use the time effectively. Although people using the public transport have the edge here – with multiple options, even those who drive to work can do things other than listening to the adverts on the radio.
Learn: This one’s a no-brainer. Make a list of the things you’ve always wanted to learn: a new language, world economics, philosophy, history, international relations, sales and marketing, astronomy, wines, ANY- thing. With the massive number of free courses available online, there really is no excuse for you to not learn the things you wanted to. Listening to Podcasts – a severely underexplored territory in India - is one of the best ways to learn about virtually anything, and can be done even while driving. The simplest step you can take is to open the pages you want to read on your phone/laptop and revisit them while commuting. If you haven’t been able to make an attempt to know more about the one thing you think you like by now, maybe, it is time to reconsider your interests, and explore new ones.
Catch-up on the Reading List: Do you find yourself making excuses about how your reading habit has slowly bowed down to the pressure of your job? If you really want to pick up the book again, the time while travelling to work couldn’t be more opportune. Of course getting used to reading books while standing, or in crowded trains will take time, but for those of you who do not want to strain your eye, audio books are easily available over the internet – and make for a good companion while you’re stuck in a serpentine traffic jam. If you are one of those, who assume misdirected pride in not reading any books, surely, a newspaper, magazine, or journal will catch your eye? You really have no excuse to not be clued in on what is happening around you now!
Finish the Fringe Jobs: Didn’t file the supplies in-voice last month? Always miss the deadline to submit weekly expenses? Begin early this time, and begin way too early – by making a to-do list, clearing the back-log, proofreading the pending report, formatting the application, and virtually every job which isn’t a priority after you enter your cubicle. The odd-hour you get in the morning is a window for you to get organised, make plan, catch-up and finish pending tasks – for if these tasks spill over – they will eat into your productivity, and thus begins a vicious cycle. The writer of this article successfully makes his work-plan for the day, allotting time slots to tasks in decreasing order of priority on his 90 minutes metro ride – to be jump into work as soon he reaches office.
Reach Out: Do you parents or friends complain that you go radio silent for long durations of time? Or do you think professional networking drains time and efficiency while you’re working? The time you spend commuting can be easily used to solve these problems. Clear your emails, reply to messages on social media, and call people you’ve been meaning to call for a long time. Starting your day talking to your loved ones will give a sense of comfort and stability, and one couldn’t ask for a better start. Build your professional networks in this time, by sending the pending email or discussing the latest development in the industry.
The realities of the times we live in are pretty daunting, as many of us spend around a quarter of our time daily commuting. Now, like everyone else, you opt for the easy way out – find distractions, cuss at the jam, or tune in the radio – or you can become creative and embrace this opportunity to work on your knowledge and skills. Technology will assist you in logistical and operational challenges to learn, but the drive to do it has to come from within. The opportunities are endless, but the question is, if you are ready to build on them.
How do you spend your commuting time? What would you like to spend it doing? Let us know!