The time spent travelling to work and back need not be unproductive time that becomes a necessary evil.
One of the banes of urban existence is the number of hours spent on commuting to and from one’s workplace. Except for the few lucky people who get to stay a stone’s throw from office, most of us do spend hours on the road. With the traffic jams and pothole-ridden roads, further worsened during rains, most Indian cities ensure that the time spent for commuters inching forward towards their office tests one’s patience and endurance levels.
For women, especially, who are struggling to meet the demands of both work and home, commuting is an annoying waste of their time.
However, as they say, when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. So here is how you can make the best of your commute.
Tips for the morning commute
Mornings are time to gear up for the day ahead. The morning commute can be utilised to make the day ahead more productive.
Choose the best option
You might not have control over the distance travelled but you do have the freedom to choose the mode of transport. Driving to work should be the last option, since it is incredibly polluting and also doesn’t give you the flexibility to do anything than focus on driving. Whether it is taking a bus, metro or carpooling, choosing a less stressful option keeps you feeling good about the day ahead. You could even choose to cycle to work, if it is at a cycling distance, and get the exercise for the day done. Just taking a change of clothes along and leaving a little earlier is all the effort that is required, but the improved fitness will be worth it.
Make a to-do list
Creating a time-table for the day on the way to office will help you step into work feeling more organised and pumped up. Breaking up the day into chunks and planning things to be done will increase the probability of actually getting work done and make the day seem more manageable.
Emails are an unavoidable part of a work day, whether it is internal mails coordinating with colleagues or interacting with external clients or vendors. Responding to mails promptly and politely is basic work etiquette. Responding to emails on mobile enroute to work frees you up to move straight into work when you step into office.
Like emails, calls are an important part of work. Scheduling calls while you are on the road helps save time. Using earphones ensure that you can take calls even if you are driving.
Tips for the evening commute
If the morning commute is about gearing up for the day, the evening commute should be about winding down.
Listen to music
There is nothing like music to help one relax while also blocking out the street noises. Listening to a playlist of one’s favourite songs is proven to do wonders for one’s mood and you are likely to walk into home feeling less tired.
We rarely get tired time alone, and the time spent on the road is a good opportunity to close your eyes for ten minutes and try to blank your mind and clear all thoughts. A simple chant will help you focus when you are starting off.
Those who approach life in a more positive way tend to be happier and report higher feelings of well-being. A gratitude journal helps in consciously channelling positivity. Noting down the high points of the day and writing down points that will help overcome the low points will make a big difference.
Most of us talk about how we never find enough time to read. The commute is captive time that can be used well to catch up on reading. All that is required is carrying along a Kindle or a paperback and you will find that a traffic jam or a long wait at a traffic signal no longer bothers you.