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7 Ways to Make Your Daily Commute More Productive

Whether by bus, train, automobile or foot, most Canadians commute to work everyday. For a small business owner this can sometimes be a frustrating way to spend an hour or so of your busy day, especially in the morning when you’re anxious to get started. It’s easy to think that your daily commute to work is just wasted time, but in actuality it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up on small tasks that are ideal for either the start or end of your day. We believe that one key quality shared by successful people is that they begin every endeavor with the outcome in mind— a clear vision of what they wish to accomplish. The day ahead is no exception.

Starting and ending your workday with productive, inspiring or other meaningful activities bookends your day with a sense of control and accomplishment. Though there are countless ways to achieve this, here are seven tips on how to make your commute more productive:

  1. Create your to-do list for the day:  If you use public transit, take the opportunity to start your to-do list for the day ahead during your morning commute. There are a number of smartphone apps that can facilitate this (Trello and Todoist come to mind) with features like alarms, calendar integration and other customization options. At the end of the day, look over what you accomplished and what items you still need to tackle. Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for every item you crossed off! If you drive a car to work, try capturing to-do items on a voice recorder.
  2. Listen to podcasts or an audiobook: Sometimes you just need to sit back, relax and close your eyes. While it’s nice to zone out and listen to music, you can also use this time productively to stay abreast of trends and happenings in your field. Podcasts like Planet Money and  Startup Canada are popular with small business owners. A great e-book app to try is Audible, where there are many audio books to choose from.
  3. Catch up on the news: Staying abreast of current affairs not only gives you something to talk about with clients and customers; it also keeps you dialed in to the environmental, political and economic conditions that shape your business each day. This is also the perfect time to read all the articles you’ve bookmarked on your feeds. News can be consumed through audio, apps or good old fashioned newspapers - there are options for any type of commute.
  4. Do some banking: Pay your bills or check your balance via telephone banking (bluetooth if driving, of course) or mobile banking. While you’re at it, online lending platforms like Lendified allow you to quickly and easily apply for a small business loan on your mobile device - you’ll find out right away if you qualify - all this before you even get to work in the morning.
  5. Catch up with loved ones: Quick calls, emails, or texts to the important people in your life, is a nice way to let people know that you are thinking about them and helps start your day on a positive note. Getting these essential personal touch-bases out of the way in the morning can also help ensure a day ahead free of guilt or distractions.
  6. Practice meditation or mindfulness: Commuting provides all of us a daily opportunity to practice meditation and mindfulness. By following a variety of techniques, mindfulness can allow you to to develop focus and create calm and relaxation, so you can arrive at your place of business refreshed and ready for the day. At the end of the day, meditation can help you destress and decompress. Since we commute twice a day, it’s a powerful opportunity to form new enriching habits.
  7. Learn Something New: Always wanted to learn a new language or brush up on your accounting skills? Enrolling in an online course is great for personal growth and can also help your bottom line. Many courses are available in audio or smartphone apps so whether you drive or use public transit, you can safely make continuous learning part of your daily routine.

About the Author: Michelle Pinchev