In this era of remote and hybrid work, there are still many of us who are returning to the office. According to recent statistics, Americans working in offices spend an average of 50-60 minutes per day commuting. With a simple shift of focus, your time can be productive and meaningful. Here are some ideas to help make your commute more beneficial and more enjoyable.
Set reminders through your phone’s virtual assistant
If you find yourself on your way to work and you remember something that you don’t want to forget, you can use your phone’s Virtual Assistant (Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Bixby, etc.) to set a reminder, schedule an event in your calendar, or set an alarm. If you’re using an Apple product, simply say “Hey Siri, set a reminder for Friday at 9am to call Alex”.
Save your phone calls for the drive
Try scheduling your calls during your commute to save yourself time at work or to keep up with family and friends. Making your phone calls on your commute also has the benefit of a built-in time boundary: once you’ve arrived, it’s easy to say goodbye. You can use your Virtual assistant to auto dial, and you can check that call off your list.
Learn a new language
Accomplish your goal of learning a new language while you commute! Rosetta Stone’s Audio Companion available through the mobile app allows you to safely learn, hands-free, while driving. Consistency is the key to learning a new skill, and daily practice at your new language will build your confidence and speed up the development of your conversational skills.
Record your thoughts
Audio journaling with the Voice Memo app on your phone can be a creative outlet for you to decompress, work through thoughts, or get unstuck emotionally. Used just like a physical diary, you can talk about whatever is on your mind and anything that you would normally write down. It can seem a little strange at first, but give it a chance and in no time, you’ll be having full-blown conversations with yourself. For iPhone users, just say “Hey Siri, record a voice memo” and start talking. Added tip: password protect your phone and you won’t have to worry about anyone else listening to your thoughts.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are audio episodes focused on a particular theme or topic that you can download and listen to on your drive. New to podcasts and not sure where to start? Ask like-minded people for recommendations, search review lists online, or check out the podcast app for a full list of options. Whether you prefer a podcast that is entertaining, informative, or instructional, you’ll be sure to find something you’ll enjoy.
Download free audio books
Now you can breeze through the latest books you’ve been wanting to read, all while you’re stuck in traffic or on the train. On apps like Hoopla, Overdrive, and Libby, you can connect to your local library membership and download audio books to your phone – for free! Find thousands of titles available to listen to offline while you drive.
Make a mental checklist
Your morning commute is a great time to make a mental checklist of things you’d like to accomplish during the day. You can do the same on your way home for either tomorrow’s top work priorities or any personal priorities that you want to complete. You can use the Voice Memo app to record any “To Do” you want to be sure to remember.
Reset your attitude with a gratitude list
Gratitude lists do not have to be written down to be effective. Thinking of 10 things that you are grateful for can shift a negative attitude to a positive one. Dr. Sarah Gottfried MD recommends counting them on your fingers until you get to 10. Or try running through Dr. Gottfried’s “4 G’s” as a daily review:
- Gratitude list (what you are grateful for).
- Good things that happened in the past 24 hours.
- Glitches that occurred.
- Goals for the next 24 hours.
Enjoy the silence
Sometimes you just need some quiet and your car can be the perfect place for that, so turn off the radio and enjoy the silence.