7 Ways to Make Your Commute More Productive

Do you commute to work? Maximize your time in transit with seven ideas to improve your state of mind and develop your professional skills.

"The American commute is worse today than it’s ever been." The Washington Post, 2017.
Headlines like these are all too real for many working-age adults. In 2015 alone, more than 143 million Americans 16 and older commuted to work every day. And despite the rising popularity of telecommuting for work, the fact is, that it is not always an option to work from home. So why not use that time in the car productively? Here are seven ways to make the most of your drive into work.
1.     Upskill - Entertaining and educational, podcasts have become very popular ways to pass the time. You can listen to them while you drive and even learn a thing or two to help you in your job. Choose one that will give you something to think about or that is relevant to your work experience. Not sure where to begin? There are plenty of lists to help you find a podcast that appeals to you! 
2. Manage Your Stress - Meditation apps provide a simple way for you to process your stress and prepare for the day. Though you can't close your eyes while driving, you can clear your head, think through your plans for the day, and brainstorm ways to manage your time. 
3. Prepare for an Important Conversation -   Have you been putting off a conversation with your boss about your career? Are you giving an important presentation at work? Now is the perfect time to rehearse. Practice your key talking points out loud. Think through the questions you might receive and how you would respond. 
4. Catch up on emails – For those of you not sitting in the driver's seat, the commute to work is a great time to work on tasks that may not require deep concentration. Rather than burning the first hour of your day reading through emails at the office, establish a discipline of doing this during your commute. It will save you time, and you can flag those emails that require action when you are at the office.
5.  Plan your day – If you haven't got a handle on your calendar yet, or the projects you need to accomplish, your drive into the office is the perfect time to plan out your day. If you have a voice-activated tool like Suri on your phone, have it record your thoughts on where you'll spend your time. When you get to the office, write your tasks on your daily calendar.
6. Get some exercise - If you work a reasonable distance from your home, consider this the perfect time for your daily workout. Whether you're biking or walking - exercising on your way to work will help reduce stress, burn calories and get your mind sharp for the day. 
7. Network - Do you commute to work with peers? If yes, this is the perfect time to build cross-functional relationships that can help your career. Avoid slipping into a habit of office gossip, and instead use the time to learn about other departments within the business, discuss best practices and share ideas. If you commute with people from other companies, you never know when you might learn about worthwhile networking events or possible job opportunities outside your organization. 
There's no reason commuting has to be unproductive. Maximize your time on the road by developing your professional skills, building relationships or clearing your mind. 
Would you like more professional development tips? Check out these related posts:
 I'm Ready for a Career Change: Now What?
The Pros and Cons of Relocating for a New Job
Is Working From Home the Right Option for You?