Wellbeing

Improve Your Commute For A Better Life

What’s your daily commute? Do you get stuck driving alone in traffic, snooze on the train or fall down the YouTube rabbit hole on the bus? Your commute can feel like such dead time in your day, but it’s possible to make it into productive time. Is it possible to kick some goals during the down time of transit? And how would that impact daily life?

Lucy Megginson, founder of Life Design Coach, is a business and life coach, and she sees it as definitely possible to make a difference to our lives by improving our commutes.

“Mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram isn’t moving your life forward in any way,” says Lucy. “If anything it’s focusing and comparing to others which can cause anxiety.”

We took a hard look at what elements went into commuting and how we could tweak them for the better. Here’s what we found:

#1 Reconsider modes of transportation 

If you’re travelling to work by car daily, ask yourself if there’s another way. What about taking a bus or train? Can you carpool with friends, even just a couple days a week? If you don’t live far from the office, is biking or walking an option? Variety could spice up your life just enough.

If you’re putting in a lot of hard hours and feel like your work/life balance is off kilter, negotiating working from home one day a week might help you achieve a little more balance – cutting out the hours of commuting could mean you get more time back in your day.

#2 Change your tune(s)

What about the soundtrack to your journey? For one week only, try listening to something different each commute. If music is your thing, try a different genre for each trip.

Like podcasts? How about subscribing to a new one? Feel like you never get the chance to read? Audiobooks are great for that. At the end of the week, look at what made you happiest and keep doing that.

#3 Incorporate errands

What? I’m suggesting you work more?! No, no, I’m just suggesting you work smarter. If you’re like me, each week something seems to pop up that I don’t feel like doing. This week, it’s grabbing a new light bulb for the nook above the stove (you know, the ones that are hard to find in the store?).

If you have a little window each week to accomplish nagging tasks, life will flow better. Gretchen Rubin, self-improvement book author, calls this the Power Hour. Try shifting your grocery shop to be part of your Tuesday commute. Or order them online while you’re on the bus.

#4 Practice mindfulness for 5 minutes

Become an observer. Focus on your breathing. Practice gratitude (mentally or in a journal). Lucy Megginson says, “Just listening to a personal development/meditation podcast and practicing listening and absorbing what is being said is good for mindfulness. It’s interesting to take notice of how much our minds wander off and practicing bringing our focus back.”

She adds, “Changing your focus from mindless to mindful on your daily commute can make the world of difference to peace of mind and happiness. When you feel that you are focusing on yourself rather than others then you become more empowered and confident.” (And if stress seems to be getting the best of you, keep chipping away at it with these additional 10-minute hacks.)

#5 Learn on the go

Why not spend your commute learning something new? OK, it’s probably not the best time to pick up the violin, but you could download podcasts on finance, or how to start blogging. You could try an app to learn a language – a little each day goes a long way. For additional tips on how to make learning part of your everyday process, try these hacks.

The key is to try something new. It doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to do it. And if you like it, keep doing it. And if you don’t, try something else.