Hack your commute: 5 ways to make the most of your commute

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Apr 13

 

Commuting almost certainly wouldn’t make it onto a list of favorite daily tasks, and studies show it’s responsible for many ailments. However, unless you’re lucky enough to have a telecommuting option, commuting is probably your only choice when it comes to getting from couch to cubicle. Fortunately, the transit time doesn’t have to be tiresome, and in fact, it may even be terrific if you try some of the tips below.

Learn a New Language

The relatively secluded time before work is the ideal time to start learning a new language. According to 2014 data, people entering the workforce that year with the ability to speak more than one language could expect 10 to 15 percent larger salaries than those who could only speak in their native tongues. Once you achieve fluency, that skill could work as leverage if you ask for a raise.

Explore Audiobooks

If you’re a bibliophile, all the time spent in traffic may feel especially frustrating since you can’t safely read and drive simultaneously. However, audiobooks may become your new traveling companions and allow you to get your literary fix. Even better, one of the benefits of audiobooks is you can often change the speed without altering the pitch and clarity of the reader’s voice, which could help you get through chapters faster.

Create Playlists of Inspiring Songs

Many cars have sound systems with MP3 player compatibility, so it’s easy to make mixes of all the tracks you love and none of the ones you loathe. You may not even realize you’re unconsciously putting yourself in a bad mood before work by listening to news reports of world tragedies or pop hits about lost love. Instead of just listening to whatever the DJs decide you should hear by tuning in, take control by making playlists full of inspiring anthems that will give reminders of self-worth, hopefulness and positivity.

Studies show there are also several specific sounds that offer potential work-related benefits. For example, nature noises may increase focus, while songs that you feel ambivalent about may leave you less likely to get distracted because you’re not paying too much attention to beloved choruses and verses. Also, when you listen to songs you really like, they could reduce your stress and lead to better decision-making.

Take Advantage of Driver’s Seat Adjustments

There are 128 million people in the United States who have daily commutes, and many use their cars to get to work. Unless you’re driving a vintage vehicle, there’s a good chance your driver’s seat has several adjustments you could make to feel supported and maximally comfortable. Take a few minutes to check out the available seat features. You may be surprised at just how easy it is to change your seat position so it feels like it was custom made. Then, when you get to your cubicle, you shouldn’t have to worry about easing muscle cramps caused by the commute.

Download Informative Podcasts

When you’re consistently caught up in your cubicle, it can feel like the outside world is passing you by. Podcasts could help you stay in the loop, and they’re usually free. Also, once you know how long your commute usually takes, you can focus on finding podcasts that fill all or most of the travel time.

If you’re the type of person who likes to get in a business mindset before reaching the office, you might be able to do that by listening to a workplace-based podcast. Geico is one example of a company that’s using podcasts to keep employees informed about employee-worthy news.

Hopefully now it’s clear your commute doesn’t have to be full of dullness and drudgery. The activities you’ve just read about could help you make the most of transportation time.


This is a guest post by Sarah Landrum. “After spending the best three and half years of my life at Penn State, I moved to Harrisburg to pursue my career. Fast forward a few months of punching the clock and loathing cubicle life, and I chose a new path in Marketing and a side gig as a freelance writer. Passionate about career development, I started Punched Clocks to share my advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in life and at work.”

 

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.