If you spend a lot of time on public transport, you’ll know how soul-crushingly boring it can be. Yes, gazing out the window is nice for a certain amount of time but after an hour, things can start to feel a little restless. I’ve come up with five ways to be productive while travelling so instead of it feeling like wasted time, it’s worthwhile time.
1. Read a book
It might sound obvious or cliche, but a portable paperback book can be an absolute saviour in any dull situation. Reading stimulates your imagination while keeping you relaxed and focused, it’s a great way to start or end your work day. Reading on public transport seems to make the commute go faster and if the book is really good, you’ll be able to block out the sounds of coughing, crying babies and the too-loud phone calls of your fellow commuters.
2. Got stuff on your mind? Write a list.
As a member of Gen Y, I don’t often have much time where I’m not watching/reading/listening to something. So when I do find myself sitting on a train, with no phone or book in hand, I have a lot of stuff whirling around in my head. This is when it’s a good idea to grab the ol’ pen and paper and make a list. For me, this is a really helpful way to sort out all that is going on in my mind; from what I have to get done that day, to the groceries I want to buy on the way home, to the people I should text and arrange a catch up – I jot it all down and clear some space in my head for the day to come.
3. Chill out
If you’re not into keeping busy while you’re on public transport, especially if it’s been a long day and you’re on your way home, it’s a great time to productively chill yourself out before you get home. Although public transport can sometimes be a little hectic, (see the aforementioned screaming babies etc.) it can also be a time where you can block out everything around you. You’re not in the drivers seat, so let someone else take the wheel while you sit back and relax. I find the best way to do this is to pop in noise-cancelling earphones and listen to relaxing music, or to download a meditation app. I recommend the Rituals App which features a collection of 5, 10, 15, 20 minute meditative rituals to calm stress and relieve tension in your mind.
4. Subscribe to a podcast
As you may have figured out, I’m a huge fan of consuming information through audio as well as from the page. I love audio books and I listen to one nearly every day. Likewise, I really enjoy a good interview or podcast and over the years I’ve listened to hours and hours of fantastic podcasts in transit. It’s a fab way to tune in, feel connected and learn something new! I highly recommend Wil Anderson’s Wilosophy, Conversations with Richard Fidler, Lena Dunham’s Women Of The Hour, and Serial is really popular but not one I’ve ventured into just yet.
5. Life admin
If I’m having a particularly busy week, I like to use my transport time to catch up on my social life. I reply to emails, texts, group chats and steadily scroll through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I especially like to do this on my way home so that I don’t spend my evening glued to my phone but rather I’m able to spend time with Sim without the distraction of a full inbox. It’s good practice to try and reply to people promptly, so get it all done in one hit while you’re commuting and you’re destined for a lighter, more relaxed day once you step off that train platform.