I’ve lived in the suburbs my whole life (aside from my 4 years away at college), but with a job in the city, my commute is a whopping 2 hours…one way. You probably think I’m crazy. But I love my hometown and I love my job. This commute includes a 25 minute car ride to the train, a 1 hour train ride, and 35 minute walk to work. Eventually my fiancé and I will move closer to work, but until then I had to find some ways to make the most of my commute on the train.
Some things I try to avoid:
- Sleeping. I usually can’t get a full REM cycle on the train which would mean this little nap would end up making me feel groggy and slightly grumpy—not an ideal way to start my day.
- Social Media. So I’ll be honest…this one is difficult. I try to limit myself to 5–10 minutes of social media. Browsing my newsfeed didn’t make me feel super productive and ended up being too much of a time suck.
- Candy Crush and other games. Again this one doesn’t make me feel productive so I try to not make a habit out of playing games on my phone.
Things I try to do:
- Read. I have a pretty lengthy reading list that I’m trying to get through, so I take full advantage of any free time to read a good book.
- Work a little more. As a designer and front end developer at LaunchPad Lab, and I get to work on a lot of interesting client projects. I find myself thinking about these projects on my walks back to the train, which leads to different ideas on how to approach certain design challenges. I’ll spend some of my time on the train testing out these ideas while they’re fresh in my mind.
- Work on side projects. We all have those lists of things we’d love to do, but somehow never find the time to actually do them. I have a list of things I’d love to design, build, or write about. This commute gives me some uninterrupted time to get some of those items checked off my list.
- Write blog posts. Since graduating from college, I’ve tried to keep writing (typically in the form of blog posts). Writing not only helps you share your ideas and knowledge on a topic, but also nurtures creativity. So while commuting, I try to write a couple times a week. (Side note: I wrote this entire post on one of my commutes into work.)
- Listen to podcasts. Podcasts cover a wide range of topics, from design to sports. There’s literally a podcast out there waiting for you. It’s a great way to gain a lot of knowledge on a topic or a way to unwind and listen to people share interesting anecdotes. Added bonus: they make long drives fly by.
- Plan. Whether it’s deciding what’s gonna be for dinner, where to going on my next vacation, or wedding details, it’s the perfect time to get some of this stuff figured out so when I get home I can relax.
- Have a good seat mate. This might be out of your control, but I’m lucky enough to commute with my fiancé. Not everyone is that lucky—now I’ve only seen this twice (which is two times too many), but you don’t want to be stuck next to the person clipping their fingernails and risk taking a nail to the eye. You also don’t want to be stuck sitting next to the snorer, the chatter box, or the person with the smelly food.