Commuting is actually the best part of the day for me… said no Londoner ever!
In fact, if you don’t find yourself wanting to verbally attack someone when you hear your train has been cancelled, you’re not a true commuter. Anyone can tell you that public transport at times can be very unreliable. Now, you don’t have to be a ball of positivity when you travel, trust us, most of the people you meet on your commute won’t be. Still, we think the negative reputation of commuting might need an adjustment. Melissa Addey thought so too when she published her book ‘The Happy Commuter’. It includes different ways to transform your daily journey. We were on the hunt for small ways to deal with what can be quite overwhelming for most of us. Luckily, experts and trophy worthy commuters in London have compiled tips to help manage time. With these in mind you might actually turn your commute into something a little less depressing.
Commuting tips – Be an early riser
Francesca Turner once said “if you’re not a morning person, become one”. Though this may seem like advice that is borderline impossible, it only takes 28 days of repetition to form a habit. Choosing what to wear the night before (and sticking to it) and getting up a little earlier can really alter your journey. Getting up and leaving early can be really empowering and make you feel like you are in control. Other things you might want to consider include getting out of bed as quickly as you can and having breakfast. Take it from us breakfast is always a good idea. So ideally after about a month of crying inside when you hear your alarm, you should be all set to go!
Commuting Tips – Plan for Transport
An old tip but probably one of the most useful but highly forgotten ones. You can never be too sure with public transport, and there is only so much you can plan for a journey. One too many times have we left it to the wind and taken a chance with London Underground. Checking your route is so much simpler now with a whole host of apps including TFL’s app and Google Maps, a few that are really helpful. If you are a train traveller, try checking out the National Railcards or Regional Railcards.
Not only will it save you time but you can land a good deal too! Avoiding being late or missing your train or bus is one thing that will definitely increase your mood levels. Nation studies in 2014 showed that anxiety and stress levels increase after just 15 minutes of travel. So imagine if you didn’t plan and something wasn’t running or was cancelled!
Commuting Tips – Read or Make Notes
Melissa Addey says commuting is a chance to get immersed in doing something really productive with so much time. Looking at and listening to what is around you could provide you with inspiration. “If you’re interested in doing something, your commute is a good time to dip your toe in, and you can get a lot done in two hours every day. I know from personal experience, the times when you do have something interesting to do, you don’t notice the commute.” Making notes for the day is just one simple way to get organised and relieve some stress for the day ahead.
If you want to completely detach yourself, a book is always a great way to pass time. Reading a book may seem like an unrealistic goal for you with the stresses of life and constantly being on the move. Online calculators can tell you how long you spend travelling and this can be a great time to put towards starting a good book. Even a chapter or a couple of pages everyday during your journey is achievable. After a month perhaps you’ll find finishing it wasn’t as unrealistic as you thought.
Commuting Tips – Try Not to Sleep
Other than the obvious possibility of missing your stop and ending up in Milton Keyes, or having strangers gawk at you with your mouth wide open, there are many reasons why power naps on the train aren’t always the best idea. If you nap before work you might be even more tired than you were before you started your commute. Sluggish motions and bad breath are some other added benefits you really don’t want on a Monday morning! There are so many exciting things you can do with a 20 minute train ride, just keep scrolling through this list.
Commuting Tips – Doing your make up is a risk
At the end of every train, car or bus ride, there is a final destination, one you want to look put together or ‘normal’ for. Unless you are really skilled at make up, you don’t want to turn up at work or university looking like you did your make up on the train. Take time before you leave the house to do this. You will be able to do it properly and won’t look like a rushed mess on public transport!
Commuting Tips – Be more social
You don’t have to sit in silence in your Uber/taxi or stare at the adverts above the head of the person sitting in front of you on the train. Networking and a little more social activity has a powerful impact on your mood. Your fellow commuter just might be someone you would really want to share information or a funny joke with. You may even find yourself discussing work or life interests with them. This is a great way to increase productivity while you travel and pass the time. Just because you are traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to travel in a bubble.
Commuting Tips – Listen to Music
If you find reading books boring, you could always download audio copies or listen to broadcasts. Commuting is another opportunity to get some much needed personal time. The successful commuter constantly searches for ways to enrich their mind and be productive and this is one way of doing just that. Some podcasts like The Engaging Brand and Accidental Creative are created especially for you commuters so check them out! They provide an easy alternative to the hustle and noise around you and spice up a monotonous journey.
Commuting Tips – Set a Goal
What is the next move in life for you? What is your dream and are you closer to achieving it? Though a little too hard-core for a train or bus ride the independent attitude in commuting is perfect for enhancing your mind. Thinking ahead and making notes of goals you want could hep you in preparation for an interview or a serious conversation. This is also a great way to start your day or week, so make a list of the things you want to accomplish. You will be more productive and avoid procrastination when you eventually get there.