7 Ways to Improve Your Morning Commute

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The morning commute can sometimes feel like a drag, and it only takes the fact that it’s Monday, it’s raining and there are some unexpected delays to really start your day off on the wrong foot. While we often dread the morning commute, it can provide the perfect opportunity to get yourself into a positive mindset and kick-start your productivity before heading into the office and beginning the work day ahead. Whether you take public transportation to work or make the drive in, these few simple practices will help you start your work day off right while building the soft skills that will help you succeed.

Here are 7 ways to have a better getting-to-work experience and use your travel time to your advantage.

1) Meditate

Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, boost creativity and problem solving skills and increase focus and attention. In today’s fast-paced workplace, making time for this stress management technique can lead to higher productivity and effectiveness. Before you leave for work in the morning, get yourself into the right mindset with a 5 to 10-minute meditation, focusing on breathing and relaxing before tackling the day. If you take public transportation to work, you can even try meditating on the go!

2) Stretch it out

Spending a long day in an office chair can have negative effects on your health and critical thinking skills. For a lot of us, sitting for 6 hours straight or more is a daily reality. To combat the negative effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time and boost your productivity and critical thinking skills, start the day off with a few simple stretches before you sit down for the drive or the commute. You can also try to stretch when you get to the office before you start the work day!

3) Catch up on some reading

While getting your body moving can increase productivity and reduce the negative effects of spending a long day at the office, it’s important to give your mind a workout, too. Taking advantage of your morning commute to make time for some daily reading can stimulate your mind and increase cognitive ability. Whether you choose to listen to an audio book, motivational podcast or read a classic fiction, starting your day with reading (or listening) can help you develop empathy and the ability to relate to others, therefore improving your teamwork and conflict management skills. Not only will you be able to spend some time relaxing before work, but you will be able to keep your soft skills sharp!

4) Take a different route

It’s easy to fall into a morning routine, and repeating the same rituals every morning can become a little monotonous. Instead of taking the same route to work, try switching it up by taking a different train line or alternative route to the office. Switching up your morning commute will not only wake you up, but it will get you to hone in on your creativity and problem solving skills that will carry through to the work day. If you live close enough to the workplace, try walking or biking to work one morning to improve your mood, reduce stress and get in some exercise before heading into the office.

5) Write out your daily to-do list

Anticipating the projects, tasks and assignments you need to get done during the work day can be overwhelming and create a lot of stress before you even pull into the office. To reduce stress, use some of the time before or during your morning commute to write out a list of your daily goals and priorities. Creating a to-do list will help you manage your time more effectively and avoid the temptation of working on less important tasks because they are more urgent or easier to complete. If you are working on ongoing or long-term projects, try breaking down the project into component steps to track your progress and avoid procrastination.

6) Check in on social media

In today’s digital world, it is increasingly important to keep your online brand relevant and up-to-date, even within an organization. On the flip side, it’s also much more difficult to avoid the temptation of checking social media throughout the workday. As both an effective personal branding tool and a tempting distraction, making some time during the morning commute to share an interesting article on LinkedIn or scroll through Instagram will help you keep your personal brand relevant, improve your digital community building skills and reduce the urge to check your social media throughout the work day, therefore improving productivity.

7) Socialize

It’s easy to spend the morning commute with headphones plugged in and your head down. However, the morning commute provides several opportunities to interact with others, build relationships with coworkers and meet new people. If you regularly take public transportation to work, striking up a conversation with those around you will give you the opportunity to meet new people and have meaningful conversations while brushing up on your communication and networking skills. If you normally drive solo to work, try arranging a carpool with some of your coworkers – not only will you be able to better pass the time during slow traffic and unexpected delays, but you will be able to build relationships with others to work more effectively as a team.

. . .

The morning commute, while often dreaded, doesn’t have to be a drag. By implementing these few simple practices into your morning commute and making an effort to switch up your routine, you will be able to get in the right mindset to have a productive and effective workday while building your soft skills. Happy commuting!

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