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10 tips for commuters: How to use your time optimally and stay relaxed

10 tips for commuters: How to use your time optimally and stay relaxed

European Business Listicle 16/2019

For many people, the way to work is connected with a longer commute. Depending on how you travel, it can sometimes end in stress. We’ve put together a few tips for all modes of transportation so that you can use the commute to and from work optimally and at the same time stay relaxed in the commuter chaos.

For all modes of transportation

1. Listen to podcasts

Podcasts are a great option for entertainment while learning something. Depending on the genre of the podcast, one outweighs the other. You can actually listen to podcasts any time, regardless of whether on the train, in the car or on your bike. Be careful, though, that you aren’t too distracted when you’re driving or riding your bicycle.

2. Create a ritual for the way home

You should adopt a ritual for the way home. Whether you always listen to the same playlist on the way home or you take an audio guided journey of the mind or you sort your to-do list – if you always do something specific on your route, it will signal to your brain that you’re transitioning from work to free time.

3. Observe your surroundings consciously

Practice observing your surroundings consciously, whether in the car, on your bike, on foot or by train. Take a good look around, and try to pay attention to details. What colours are the jackets of the other commuters? What does it smell like around you? Count until the traffic light turns green again. What colours are most of the cars on the street? Try to exercise your gray matter to observe your surroundings consciously. That fosters creativity and relaxes you.

Commuting by (your own) car

4. Talk to yourself

No joke – talk to yourself more often. Especially when you’re in your car by yourself, you can have terrific conversations with yourself. Tell yourself out loud what you’d like to do throughout the day, how you want to proceed or practice a presentation or your argumentation for the next negotiation. You’ll clear your mind and reduce stress during your commute.

5. Form a carpool

What is nicer than talking to yourself is, of course, talking with others. If you have coworkers living not far away from you, think about forming a carpool. You save money because you can split fuel costs, and at the same time, you can talk to each other and have some welcome variety.

6. Travel a different route

Taking the same route to work is not especially conducive to our mindfulness or creativity. So add in a little detour every now and then, turn off one street sooner or look for other routes. That will also make your brain observe your surroundings better and connect a synapse or two.

Commuting by public transportation

7. Plan your to-do list

On public transportation, you shouldn’t talk to yourself out loud, but you can plan and prepare your day for today or tomorrow. Your hands are free, so you can write to-do lists by hand or use apps and tools to organize and plan your things to do. If you can take care of that already on the way home, your head will be free when you get home.

8. Read

Reading is a great way to learn. Reading novels, short stories and so on increases your creativity and is relaxing. However, you can also read specialist literature or get summaries of books with certain services that you can read or listen to easily during your commute.

9. Meditate

There are in the meantime many apps offering short meditations or journeys of the mind that you can easily do on the way to work. Don’t worry: You don’t have to sit there in a yoga outfit with your legs criss-crossed. It’s enough to close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. This break for the brain gives you energy and distracts you from the other commuters.

10. Take a nap

Assuming your commute takes more than 20 minutes, you can use the time for a nap. But you really shouldn’t nap longer than 20 minutes so that you don’t slip into a phase of deep sleep. Practice taking power naps. Especially in the evening, they can give you energy for your free time. This will bring an end to collapsing on the couch every evening.

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