Fortunate commuters who can use public transportation will have developed suitable techniques for the effective use of their traveling time. For those who are obliged to travel by car, it’s not so easy. Commuting by car can be a big waste of time, if you have a long daily journey or get stuck in traffic while unused minutes tick by, never to be recovered. However, there are ways to make full use of those precious minutes or hours.
Join a car pool
Car passengers have more opportunities than drivers to use commuting time effectively, so why not do a favor for the planet and for your wallet and investigate car pooling? If you and your neighbors are heading in roughly the same direction at approximately the same time, it makes sense to share the chore of driving, cut the cost, reduce pollution and free up your hands on the days when you are just a passenger.
Suggestions for passenger activities
Make good use of your time as a passenger by:
- reading a good book
- studying for a new qualification
- working on a laptop or other mobile device
- making cell phone calls (if it’s not too distracting for the driver)
- engaging in a craft like knitting or embroidery
- making today’s ‘to do’ list
Suggestions for driver activities
That’s the passengers taken care of, but how do you make good use of your time as a driver?
If you’re a driver in a car full of people knitting, talking on the phone or furiously tapping at a keyboard, you may just want to concentrate on the traffic and look forward to the day when it’s your turn to be a passenger. However, if you’re alone your car is your own space. Turn off your cell phone and remember to maintain your concentration on driving, but most people can manage a bit of multi-tasking in the morning.
Drivers on the way to work
Make good use of your time driving to work by:
- listening to an audio book or music
- learning a foreign language studying for a qualification using audio tuition
- using a voice recorder to log new ideas, dictate memos, plan the work day
- catching up with current affairs by listening to radio news
- doing a sit down workout, flexing and relaxing muscles and limbs
On the homeward journey
In the morning you are full of energy and looking forward to the day ahead. What about the homeward trip?
Passengers can take a power nap, phone home, make a shopping list and then pull out the knitting or listen to the iPod.
Drivers, beware. You have just done a day’s work. You are tired, and it might be dark outside. By all means listen to music or the radio, but leave 99 percent of your brain free to concentrate on getting safely to your destination through a stream of vehicles driven by people just as fatigued as you are.
Think of commuting time not as wasted time, but time spent in preparing for your day or winding down at the end of it. For drivers on the way home, commuting time can be time invested in your safety. You have plenty of useful morning commuting ahead of you tomorrow.