Do you drive to work? Most Americans spend (on average) an hour commuting to and from their place of work each day.
An hour doesn’t really seem that long, right? I mean, how many times have you watched an episode of Law and Order: SVU and that hour seems to fly right by?!
Somehow that same hour, when spent sitting in grid-lock traffic, dealing with angry drivers, and inhaling exhaust fumes, doesn’t seem to go by as fast. At least not for me!
When I took my first job after Grad school, I had a commute that was terrible. It took 45 minutes to get to work (thanks to those early shifts and early OR start times, or else it would have been way worse) and depending on the traffic, it would usually take an hour and half to get home. I worked 3, sometimes 4, days a week. Doing the simple math, thats 6-8 hours of time in the car, unpaid!
I figured there had to be something I could do to spend my time more productively. I mean, how many times can you listen to the same Top 40 songs or Pop Hits before you go a little crazy?
So here are some suggestions if you are looking to switch things up and increase your productivity on your commute.
- Call your family and loved ones. No, seriously. They miss you and I am sure they would love an update on your life. I try to call my Grandparents (and parents) at least every couple of weeks, and I find that spending my end of day commute talking to them helps the time fly by.
- Find a book you’ve been meaning to read, and get it as an audiobook. There are so many options for audiobooks. You can download them as an audio file, get them as an MP3, or even as a CD. I find that CD audiobooks are sometimes cheaper than the downloadable audio files, and most cars still have a CD player. There are even membership based audiobook companies that let you download and listen to as many audiobooks as you wish. (Audible and Google are just two of the companies that offer these services).
- Try to find the books that will appeal to your interests and hobbies. I love to listen to books about business and entrepreneurship. I also recently started listening to books about empowerment and charting your own route to success.
- My goal is to use the audiobooks as a way to jump start my thinking in the morning and as a reward for working a long day in the evening. I also make it a practice to only listen to my audiobooks on the days I am commuting to work, so I have something to look forward to.
- You can also chose to listen to healthcare related books, but you may find you are less excited to turn them on at the end of the day. Full disclosure, I used to download the Audio Digest files so I could listen to them on my commute but I found I wasn’t very excited to listen to them, especially after a long day or a challenging caseload. I think it’s nice to just switch gears and let your mind focus on something other than healthcare for a change.
- Podcasts are another great way to make your commute more productive. There are so many podcasts out there, and if you have an interest, there is definitely someone making content about it. Check into those as well!
Do you have a long commute? How do you pass the time and make it more productive? Let me know your tips and tricks to help pass the time!
(I have also had varying commutes at my most recent hospital and will do a blog post about train commuting, biking and walking to work. So stay tuned!)