I commute to work every day and the time from my front door to my desk chair is about one hour. A majority of that one hour is spent on the train itself, where I usually read or listen to music (I highly enjoy doing both of these things and they help calm and prepare me for the day ahead). On the train ride home yesterday, though, I had a thought: how can I use my commute more productively? I don’t think for one minute that reading or listening to music or talking to a friend is unproductive, but I wondered how I could use my commute to make my life at home just a little bit easier. Here is what I came up with:

  1. Use the time to create lists: grocery lists, general household to-do lists, even work lists. I am a notorious procrastinator and having a concrete plan helps me to avoid falling into that trap. I hate going to the grocery store, but having a list of what I need makes it easier for me to go. Sometimes everything I want to (or need to) do around my apartment can seem overwhelming, but when I make a list of my priorities and what I’ll need to accomplish them, these tasks seem easier to tackle. Also, since I occasionally do freelance work on the side, making to-do lists and listing the specific steps I will take to accomplish those tasks make working after work seem a lot less daunting.
  2. Catch up with friends and familySometimes when I get home from work, the temptation to dive right in to Netflix and not speak to anyone can be overwhelming (especially for an introvert like me). But it is important, especially because I live alone, to remain in regular contact with my friends and family. There have been instances before where the following thought suddenly struck me: “Hey, when was the last time I talked to my mom or dad?” And that’s not right. I can use my commute time to make a phone call (when I’m not on the quiet ride car) or to text my family and friends and stay in touch.
  3. Think and write about more long-term goals. I guess this could technically be classified under my first point, but I would rather have it separate. I believe this is a very important point because I do have long-term goals that may seem hazy to me, but with a little forethought and planning they could be realized with a lot less stress. For example, I don’t want to rent forever so what are the specific steps I must take if I want to own a home someday? I also want to eventually buy a new car (hopefully not for a long time!), so how can I do that? Am I happy in my current career path or is it time for a change? These are the kinds of questions everyone should ask themselves, but I find it especially helpful for me at this stage in my life. And sometimes when I’m home after dinner and I’m relaxing, thinking about these things and jotting down ideas seems too overwhelming.

These are just a few ideas I came up with to make my commute more productive for me. And I don’t want to pressure myself to do these things every day, but two or three times a week makes sense and will probably make my life a lot easier!

How about you? Do you have any tips for a more productive commute?