Note: This post is written by Sarah Landrum
Every morning, 128 million people commute to work in the U.S. More than three-quarters of them commute alone. While you may regard your commute as an event to be suffered through — and perhaps even dread — you could be putting that time in your car to productive use.
Here are eight ways to make the most of your time in the car:
1. Use a Voice Recorder
Voice recorders are one of the best ways to boost your productivity on commute. You can use them to generate to-do lists for the day or the week. You might also make a list of instructions your assistant needs to accomplish while you’re traveling.
If you are preparing a presentation, a voice recorder can be deployed for listening to your presentation. It helps you see how it sounds to you before you deliver it, and it lets you hone your speech as necessary.
2. Listen to the News
Wall Street gyrations, the price of oil, the election cycle — whatever your business, it can be very tied to the news. You need to know what’s going on, but keeping up with breaking news can be a real time suck. Unless you use your commute to listen to the news.
Many podcasts and CD or MP3 audio providers have news programs, newspapers or magazines available for you to listen to. All-news radio is also an option.
3. Learn Something New
Whether you want to increase sales, learn better Spanish or simply want to find out where the best hiking spots are, you can do it all on your commute. Check out audio books and download podcasts.
4. Sing for Health
What better time to sing than when you’re alone! You can really let loose. Singing can be invigorating. It’s also good for your heart and de-stresses you, lowering blood pressure, improving circulation and reducing anxiety.
There’s evidence that lengthy commutes or traveling to work during rush hour causes spikes in blood pressure that are both short and long term. Do your blood pressure a favor and warble at the top of your lungs.
5. Relax Your Eyes
Much of your day will likely be spent staring at a screen. Perhaps even as you walk in from your car, you’ll be checking your smartphone for messages. At the end of the day, your eyes will need a rest. What better time than on your drive? We don’t mean, of course, that you should do nothing with your eyes. You need them while driving! Just enjoy the road and the scenery as you decompress from your screen staring.
6. Exercise by Strategic Parking
You can’t run, row or walk in a car, of course. But you can get exercise during your commute through strategic parking. If you’ve been angling for the parking space closest to the door, aim for one furthest from the door instead. Your walk from the back 40 to your office door counts as part of the commute, and it’s aerobic!
7. Utilize Time to Think
In daily life, we often don’t have time to just sit and think. Suppose you want to draft a pitch to your boss or analyze ways to increase sales. You’ve got to start to think about these tasks early in order to accomplish them quickly.
There is no better way to use your commute time than to think these chores through. Create scenarios. Develop alternate scenarios. Poke holes as a devil’s advocate. Refine them. It’s all possible on your commute.
8. Eat Healthy Breakfasts
You can easily grab a cholesterol-laden fast food meal to eat on your way to work. Still, one key to productivity is to be healthy and fit. Think power bars. Eat bananas for breakfast and carrots for the way home. These snacks are all very easy to eat in a car, and chock full of energy, vitamins and minerals.
If you have to commute — as so many of us do — you can at least make it a productive time. These tips will help you on the job, with your boss and with life in general.
Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping you grow your career. Follow Sarah on social media and subscribe to her newsletter for more great advice! You can catch her tweeting daily tips @SarahLandrum