The journey time to work is increasing year on year. In London, the average commuter spends 107 hours every year commuting. Most people will find themselves on a train, in a cycle of endless social media scrawling. If you’re feeling a little more organised you might bring a book, kindle or head phones, but even that can get a bit tedious. So, what about trying something new? Making that Monday to Friday working week start a little differently?
1. Meal Plan
A Monday morning is usually the time where you reminisce on the poor food and drink choices you made over the weekend, and so, it is also a good day to kick start your healthy working week. Use Apps such as Yummly, Mealboard or Change4life to create shopping lists and weekly meals. Keeping you organised and healthy…. until Friday comes around again.
2. Email an Old Friend
This might seem a bit corny but we are all guilty of not keeping in touch with friends. The couple you met on holiday who you promised to email for a meet up or your friend from university who you ‘would never lose contact with’, but it’s been 6 months and apart from a comment on their last Instagram post you haven’t spoken. Drop them an email, who knows they could be looking for something to do on their commute to work too.
3. Get a Non-fiction Audiobook
Some people love a good non-fiction book, others love the idea of reading a book on politics, religion, physics or the Spanish monarchy but after a long day at work the last thing you want is a heavy read. Why not download it as an audiobook you can listen to on route, educate yourself without needing as much concentration.
4. Play a Brain Training Game
It might seem like the days of brain training games on the Nintendo DS have disappeared but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still available. There are plenty of games and challenges available in the App Store to test your memory, mathematics and problem solving skills. Get your brain ticking before your day with games such as Elevate, Peak or Brain School.
5. Feel Inspired
There are plenty of very interesting, inspirational speakers producing vlogs and podcasts at the moment. Unlike in the past, these are not all are over enthusiastic Americans with vague slogans promoting their self-help book. Now speakers are coming in all shapes and sizes. Check out TEDTALKS, you can download most onto your phone and watch offline. Trust us, there is a talk for every mood, every interest and every journey length.
6. Stay Up-to-Date
Start your day by updating yourself on current affairs across the world, or even just across the UK. Sign up for a current affairs email newsletter like The Times Red Box! The email is normally sent by 8am with a rundown of what’s happening that day, what happened the day before and a few opinion articles. Instead of talking office politics when you get to work you can talk global politics!
7. Learn a New Language
Heading to Portugal this summer or for a long weekend in Italy? Why not learn a few phrases to help you out while you’re there? There are plenty of free apps and podcasts you can download to help you. A word of warning, it’s probably a good idea for you to keep the practicing to car journeys, no one wants to hear you shouting ‘je voudrais une bière, s’il vous plait’ at 8 in the morning!
8. Look for New Opportunities
If the journey time is getting to you, it could be worth looking for a new opportunity, in a new location. Long commutes can put additional pressure on you and your working life. Spend some time looking at jobs available in your sector or try contacting a recruitment company who will be able to hand pick jobs that match your criteria.
9. Never Forget a Birthday Again
Admit it, we have all forgotten an important birthday! A nephew’s 11th birthday, your neighbour’s 30th, the same neighbour who gave you that lovely hamper for yours or your grandads just-after-Christmas birthday. Spend your commute adding all the birthdays you usually forget to your calendar with a reminder set 3-4 days before so you have time to buy that emergency card, grab that thoughtful gift card and send it first class!
10. Turn Off All Technology
Don’t freak out, but you could try turning everything off and have some time offline. Take out the headphones, switch on airplane mode and spend a bit of time before the busy day at a computer desk looking out the window, talking to the person next to you or just relaxing.