We have all been in hour-long metro or local train rides to get to work, fretting about the amount of time wasted on these journeys. According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, people with longer commutes were prone to higher blood pressure, bigger waistlines and poorer fitness than those who worked close to home. Not all of us are blessed with the option of working from home or working remotely. But thanks to the advent of smartphones and tablets, you now have the ability to make productive use of the time you spend getting to work. But instead of upping your scores on Temple Run and Candy Crush, there are other things to do to get you in the mood for a productive day. Here are seven such apps you can download for free:
Do you have a great idea for an assignment? Jot it down on Evernote! This engaging app enables you to make notes, lists or simply pen down whatever thoughts you have. You can start your day by listing out the things you want to accomplish for the day. This will keep you organised and help you set realistic goals. A Harvard Business Review study says that mapping out your day in the morning helps alleviate stress and makes you more productive. With features like web clipping, voice memos and photo notes, Evernote helps you manage ideas and research information efficiently.
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with our email inboxes. We dread the sight of those hundred unread messages before we switch on our computers. So why not organise your emails when you have time at hand? With the Gmail app, this becomes a cakewalk. All the traditional Gmail features available on your PC have been effectively adapted for the mobile platform. You can check new emails and reply to them, delete unwanted ones, mark important conversations and file emails for later use, all with just a few taps. The Gmail app can get you started with your work. With the Gmail app, you can start your day at work with a clean inbox, a sense of accomplishment and increased productivity.
Most of us spend a good part of our office hours staring at our monitors. Instead of starting your day like this, use your commute time to listen to interesting podcasts on subjects that interest you. From biology to technology to food, politics and sports, Stitcher offers over 65,000 radio shows, live radio stations and podcasts. In case you don’t feel up to the prospect of overwhelming yourself with information first thing in the morning, skip to one of the stations that plays the music of your choice. What’s more, research says that listening to music keeps you fresh and more charged to face the day.
We sometimes chance upon interesting articles and videos online but don’t have the time to indulge in them immediately. When we do find the time, searching for this content is another huge task in itself. Pocket can help you save articles for future reading. Your commute is the best time to catch up on these!
You may not want to be devoured by social media updates right in the morning. But you could use your commute time organise your updates for when you want to see them. With a Tinder-esque interface that helps you browse through your Twitter followers, Twindr helps you identify unwanted accounts that you might want to unfollow to clean your Twitter feed. All you need to do is swipe left or right to view these accounts and choose to follow or unfollow them.
What about using your commute time to learn a new language? Your work commutes can be a great time to pick up the basics of a language you’ve always wanted to learn. And no, Duolingo won’t make you a fluent speaker in just a few days (but then again, what really does?), but it surely makes learning languages fun. With greats like Bill Gates admitting to using the app to brush up his language skills, you can be sure that you are in good company.
Mornings are the best time to reflect, introspect and meditate, and this app helps you do just that. Stop, Breathe & Think asks you to do an emotional check-in where you are asked to input how you feel at the moment, and suggests meditation practices depending on your mood. If you are new to meditation, this provides a good first step to be initiated into mindfulness. It even tracks your progress! The positive effects of meditation are well-documented with studies having proven that it reduces anxiety and improves concentration and memory.
What are the tools that you use to spend your commute time productively? Let us know in the comments below.