There are times when the nine-to-five can become a real drag – the office politics, the temperamental photocopier and the fact you can’t make yourself a cuppa without offering on to the entire wing can all get on top of you.
Then there’s the commute.
On top of being in the office for eight hours a day, you then have the added headache of another hour just getting to and from there. And this can all-too-easily become two hours once the dark nights and bad weather kick in.
It doesn’t have to be that way though, there are ways you can use that time to good effect…
- See the commute in a different light
Most of us look at the daily commute as a chore, a means to an end, and if we could fall out of bed and into our workstation we happily would.
If you look at it another way though, if you commute for an hour a day, that’s five hours a week, or an average of 240 hours a year. That’s a lot of time you have to yourself – no kids vying for your attention or colleagues hassling you about deadlines.
So take the time to do something you enjoy – listen to your favourite songs, catch up with the news, a great podcast, audio book, or just enjoying the (relative) silence while you can.
- Learn a language
Why not use the time to train your brain by learning a foreign language?
Although you should never do anything that takes your mind off the road, brushing up on your high school French or learning Chinese is a great way to make the time pass productively.
“Comment puis-je obtenir un nouvel emploi?”
The sound of the breakfast show radio, the weather report, traffic bulletin and the world news can be more stressful than the commute itself. So why not turn off the radio and take time to meditate during the morning commute?
Now taking your hands off the wheel, crossing your legs and chanting ‘Ohm’ could get you pulled over for dangerous driving, so try meditating by focussing on the road ahead while soaking up the sounds around you and observing the thoughts that spring to mind.
4. Crank up the classical
Listening to talk radio can raise the hackles, turning on the heavy rock or high-energy dance can make you drive faster – meaning both can make the daily commute infinitely more stressful than it has to be.
So try cranking up the classical instead.
Not only has a Populous survey of 2,000 drivers* found those who listen to classical or pop music to be more relaxed than metal fans, who are more prone to road rage, and jazz fans, who are more likely to pick up fines, but a 2007 study of adolescents** found that classical or soothing music both lessened anxiety and boosted relaxation levels. Be the most zen worker in your office by following this tip!
- Leave the car at home
If you live and work near a train station, your journey to work is on a good bus route, or you live a mile or so from your place of work, it could be time to leave the car at home and get to work a different way.
Taking public transport can give you the time to fully zone out and read a book or the daily newspaper, while walking or cycling to work can have the added benefit of taking away the stress of driving and making you fitter.
What tips do you have to make the morning commute more tolerable?