For many people, their daily commute is a tedious and brain-rotting experience. If they use public transportation, they attempt to alleviate the boredom by flicking through free junk newspapers full of bad news, rumors and advertisements, or by playing games on their smartphone. If they drive, they listen to radio stations that vomit out vacuous showbiz gossip or mindless bubble-gum pop.
But this time spent commuting can be put to very good use if one makes the effort. An hour or two in a car, bus or train five days a week is a valuable chunk of time, and over the course of weeks, months and years, these hours add up into a huge mountain of time. That time, if used well, can be a fertile birthing ground for new skills, deep learning and personal growth that will transform your life for the better!
Read a Good Book A good book, be it fiction or nonfiction, will broaden your horizons, expand your world, educate you, fascinate you, improve your vocabulary, strengthen your ability to focus, fuel your imagination, and change your life. Between the covers of a good book is the condensed knowledge of a world-class expert – carefully written, rewritten, edited, honed and perfected. It’s years of deep study and development that has been whittled, refined and presented to you in its purest, most accessible form. What an amazing gift!
Knowledge is power, and a lifelong dedication to continuously educating yourself will bring untold joy and satisfaction, as well as a better (and always growing) understanding of the world, increased happiness and more options in life. There are more wonderful books in the world than you could read in a thousand lifetimes, but you can still make a small dent in the mountain of glorious knowledge that mankind has accumulated by dedicating some time on your daily commute to reading good books.
Write in Your Journal Writing in a journal is a wonderful way to formulate your thoughts, explore your own inner world of emotions and feelings, clarify plans, gain an ever-increasing understanding of the world, and to ponder (and maybe even figure out) some of the mysteries of the universe. Journaling is calming and relaxing, and it’s free therapy! Journaling introduces you to yourself and strengthens your relationship with yourself.
Your daily commute is the ideal time to crack out your notebook and pen and empty your brain onto paper. We guarantee you will learn about yourself, grow as a human and, every so often, have epiphanies that will change your life.
Practice Your Social Skills Being confident and socially free enough to connect with a stranger and start up a little chat is a wonderful way to be, but most of us are not quite there yet. Shyness and a degree of social anxiety or stiffness are very common. Despite the close proximity of thousands of fellow travelers, packed commuter trains in big cities are, ironically, some of the loneliest places on earth. People keep their heads down and try to avoid eye contact at all costs. This is mainly out of a fear of social rejection.
Humans are a social species – we are tribal and we thrive on social contact with fellow humans. The fear of rejection keeps us lonely. People would like to reach out, but they can’t. A small chat with a stranger can absolutely brighten someone’s day, week, month…. or even save their life! For most people, there is no joy quite as intense as the joy that comes from connecting with another human, even in the form of a small chat about the weather. So, lean into your fear, say “Hi!” first, and brighten someone’s day by striking up a conversation.
Meditate to Find Inner Peace A daily meditation practice holds many benefits. It calms the mind, relaxes the body, brings you into the present moment, and allows you to witness over and over again the strange, random, repetitive, unbeckoned thoughts that your mind farts out again and again and again. Seeing these thoughts for the involuntary brain burps that they are helps you to separate from them, to stop beating yourself up and to stop thinking that you are those thoughts. You are not your thoughts – you are the entity that is watching and noticing those thoughts.
It is very helpful to be reminded of this on a daily basis. Meditation is a great way to do this. Your daily commute is certainly not the most peaceful and distraction-free place you could meditate, but maybe meditating on a busy bus or train will make your practice even more powerful. Give it a try.
Listen to an Educational Podcast or Audiobook If you drive to work, or if you take public transportation, you can educate yourself during your commute by listening to a good podcast or audiobook. Many people feel they get even more from a book when, instead of reading it, they listen to a good narration of it. Podcasting has exploded as an art form over the last few years, and there is a wealth of brilliant content available, often for free, on iTunes.
Listening to a good podcast is like listening in on a great conversation between a few highly knowledgeable experts. It’s a rare opportunity to get inside the minds of masters and hear their spontaneous thoughts firsthand and unrehearsed. What a fascinating time to be alive – and to be a commuter!
That was our BUCKiTDREAM list of five ways to be productive during your daily commute. Are you now feeling inspired to give at least one a try? If and when you do, make sure to share your experiences and inspire your friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and don’t forget to use hashtag #BUCKiTDREAM.