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Productive Things to Do During Your Daily Commute

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

There's no shortage of tasks to be completed in a given day, at least not for most working adults. So when you have to spend hours each week cursing your way through morning and evening commutes, it's only reasonable that you would become frustrated. Not only do you have to deal with the nonsense that naturally seems to spring up when people are stuck in gridlock (how is it that heavy traffic always brings out the worst in drivers?), but you also have to resign yourself to the fact that this wasted time could be so much better spent if only you didn't have to commute each day to pay the bills. Luckily, there is a solution to all of your problems. By joining a carpool or using public transportation instead of making your daily commute solo, you can save your sanity, cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, and give yourself a few extra hours of productivity each week. Here's how.

Believe it or not, there are all kinds of productive things you can do in the confines of a vehicle when you're not behind the wheel. One great way to spend your time stuck in the car is to catch up on personal correspondence. If your mom is starting to leave messages on your voice mail insinuating that she thinks your body might be buried in a corn field at this point (has it really been that long since you called her?), perhaps it's time to admit that you've gotten a little lax about keeping up with your family and friends. And who can blame you when a couple hours each day are spent battling traffic? The point is, your commuting time could be used to make calls, send letters, check emails, or otherwise stay in contact with the ones you love.

Of course, you might also use this time for professional purposes. This isn't to say that you should spend this unpaid time working, but you could certainly use it to help you reach your career goals faster. For example, you could check in with business contacts via social networking accounts. It never hurts to foster professional relationships; if you stay connected when you don't need something it can definitely make colleagues more amenable when you do. You might also want to use the time to read periodicals, e-zines, and respected industry blogs as a way to stay up-to-date on changes and advances within your particular field. In truth, you could even go so far as to take continuing education and use your commuting hours for study, further enhancing your professional value.

On the other hand, even leisure activities can be productive in a way. For example, a little cat nap when you're burning the candle at both ends could help to dispel your sleep deficit, making your more alert, energetic, and productive during your waking hours. And even if you're reading for pleasure rather than informational purposes, you could be improving your vocabulary and comprehension skills, or simply easing some of the stress that pulls your focus throughout the day. Whether you hop in your coworker's sedan or mini coupe or you take the train into the city each day, the time you'll gain by leaving your own car at home is priceless. You'll lower stress (and emissions) and tackle some of the many tasks that would otherwise be waiting for you at the end of your work day (and evening commute).

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