Whether you’ve been commuting for years or you’ve got a new job that requires it, you already know that a long drive everyday can really take it out of you. And then after you’ve driven for two hours, you have to sit through an eight hour workday! It’s exhausting just to think about. So how do you stay on top of the commute and not let it get the best of you? Be productive! Here are 15 ways to stay productive during a long work commute (to prevent your brain from melting).
1. Drink your morning joe!
If you’ve got a long drive ahead of you, odds are you didn’t want to wake up early enough to sit with your coffee. Take it with you and enjoy that extra half hour of sleep! Or, if your job pays well enough, stop at Starbucks on the way in and make that trip a little sweeter.
2. Eat your one-handed breakfast
If you don’t drive stick shift, your options really open up. If you’ve got the skills and a neat enough brekkie, keep one hand on that steering wheel and the other on that bagel. Now your morning routine is even shorter, and you won’t lose your morning productivity to daydreaming about lunchtime.
3. Sing your heart out
If you’re on your way home from a brutal day at work, you might need to release some of that tension. You can’t take a bath or hit a punching bag in the car, but you can use your voice! Crank that radio and sing your heart out to put the day behind you.
4. Listen to a countdown
If you love music but your own voice makes you cringe, use this time to stay up to date on the top tunes! Find a countdown to listen to and stay current on the pop scene.
5. Listen to the news
Not one for music, but your car doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity? Switch to the AM radio and listen to the news. It may not sound quite as glamorous, but being plugged in to current events is really important, especially lately. Getting an hour or two of news coverage every day can make a world of difference. You’ll be smarter and more well informed, and hopefully it will help you stay awake on that long stretch of highway your long work commute drags you along.
6. Listen to a podcast
On the other hand, if you do have Bluetooth, your options really open up. Download a podcast to listen to! It can be tough to find new music to listen to every day, but this solves that problem. There are thousands of podcasts out there, about everything from history to serial killers. Each is constantly releasing new episodes, so you’ll never run out!
7. Listen to an audiobook
If you like the idea of focusing your mind by listening to a story, but podcasts don’t tickle your fancy, try an audiobook! Listen to your favorite stories read out to you. Or work your way through the bestseller list. If you’re like me, then your friends are constantly suggesting books for you to read and you can never catch up. Now you can turn your dull drive into productive mental time. Most audiobooks range from eight to 13 hours, so you can go through one a week, easy.
8. The sweet sound of silence
A long work commute can be a wonderful escape from the noisy bustle of your life. Turn off your radio and roll down your windows. Listen to the wind blowing through the car and turn to your thoughts. When’s the last time you weren’t interrupted by a nagging boss, annoying coworker, needy neighbor or overactive mother? Enjoy this time. It doesn’t come often enough.
9. Make mental lists
Once you’ve learned to appreciate the sound of silence, use that silence to think. Make a list of what you could get your sister for her birthday. Make your grocery list of everything you keep forgetting at the store. Think of things to do this weekend, and how you can make them happen. Do everything you’ll forget when you’re home.
10. Plan it out
Planning ahead can save hours and stress. If you’re normally scatterbrained, use these free hours to settle all of your issues. Plan your meals for the week. Plan your next vacation. Or even plan what you’re gonna do when you get home!
11. Motivate for your workout
If you’ve been sitting in your office all day, you probably should get on your feet at sometime. It can soooo hard to motivate after you get home from a long day at the office (and a long commute!), so motivate early. Psych yourself up on your ride home for exactly what you’ll do when you step out of the car. When you make a specific plan, you eliminate your reasons to be lazy. You got this!
Speaking of being healthy. If you’re gonna work out right when you get home, you don’t want to be thirsty. Use this time to up your hydration levels so you can coast right through your workout. Bring a water bottle in your car and take a sip every time you hit a stop light.
13. CALL YOUR MOTHER
You know it’s been too long since you updated her about your creepy neighbor and that coworker who won’t leave you alone. She’s bound to worry, so use this time to give her a call and fill her in. Hands free, of course! While you’re at it, call everybody. This is a few free hours that can be used to catch up with everyone you may be neglecting. Call your BFF on her way home from work too and gossip the whole long work commute home!
14. Finish that mental argument
If you aren’t feeling up to talking to a real person, talk to yourself. No, you’re not crazy. You’re productive. Say what you could never say to your boss. Let it all out. No one can hear you.
Alternatively, find someone to talk to in person! Carpooling is a great way to save gas, the environment and your sanity. If that drive is just too long to make on your own, find someone in your office who lives in the same neck of the woods and ask if they want to bum a ride. You’ll both be saving money, and maybe you can make a new friend!