Who wishes that at the close of work each day, they can vanish and then re-appear at their home, or at least the street to it? I do (all the time!) because traffic, and long distances, and plain tiredness after a hard day’s work. If you live in a pretty busy city like mine, you can relate to the hassles involved in getting home after work. Although this applies to both the to and fro journey, we can all agree that the morning commute is a whole lot easier than its counterpart after 5 pm.
On average, I spend two hours getting home from work which makes it four hours for commute in total. I could get a doctorate degree if I studied for the same number of hours everyday! Lately, I’ve been giving serious thought to how I could make my commute time more productive and worth looking forward to. And by the way, if you spend less than an hour to/fro work, or can leave your office before 4 pm, please sit over here while the rest of us weep together, haha.
I’ve curated a list of good stuff you can do on your way home (or in the mornings), whether you use the public bus, drive yourself, or have a chauffeur. I do quite a few of them, and I’m hoping some others will find their way into my routine after this post. Ready?
Read. This one just had to top the list, right? Your commute time may be a good time to read the growing pile of e-books on your phone (talk about smashing your reading goals for the year!) But I must warn you about motion sickness, which is the feeling of nausea you get when your sensory organs send conflicting signals about your body’s motion during commute. One trick I use is to take short breaks in between reading in order to “move along with the car”.
Plug in your earphones. You may just want to listen to your favourite preacher, or an audio-book or music. That way, your mind gets edified and relaxed at the same time.
Pray. Speak in tongues. Most 9-5ers can relate to the fact that they can barely find enough time to do anything else. On a typical day, you have to be up as early as 4 am to beat traffic and personal devotion just takes the back burner. However, there a lot of creative ways to commune with God even on the move. Devotional apps, praying in the spirit, earphones….the list keeps growing.
Reply calls and text messages. Raise your hand if you belong to the club of folks who’ve been accused of never-replying-messages-or-calls. Then, I suggest you can use your commute time to return calls you missed during work hours or reply text messages you marked as “not urgent”. A little caveat though, a text is always a better idea if during calls you may have to share some personal or confidential details. You wouldn’t want to be caught discussing the details of a bank transaction on a public bus.
Visit social media. Read your favourite blogs. Check live match scores. Social media is an all-time stress reliever, who agrees?. Pop out your phone (unless it’s bulky) and check for new updates, reply chats or simply check the scoreline if your team is playing. P.S. I find it grossly annoying when a fellow commuter just refuses to use an earphone when viewing online videos. Plix, not everybody wants to knows who Lasisi is.
Sort through the events in your day. Mmhmm, I feel this counts as an activity too. I’m in the habit of using my commute to review the highs and lows of my day. Did I achieve any set goals, or learn something new or discover a new way to do stuff? Did a colleague upset me? I find that by answering these type of questions, I put my mind in the right place and prepared for the next work day.
Make plans. This is very much related to the previous point. I always carry a handy notebook around just in case I need to jot down an idea or add to my to-do list.
Join the conversation. If the taxi has a radio, there is the likelihood that a discussion may spark off following a news brief. Feel free to join in, or simply make small talk with a fellow commuter. A good conversation may be all you need to take your evening from a zero to a hundred.
Look around. Yeah, it’s part of the list too. I’ve probably memorized every stop and landmark on my route by now, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look around once in a while. That’s the only way I can see the new structures popping up or some information on a billboard or even goods displayed by a hawker. However, this would only apply if you have a seat by the window, so it wouldn’t seem like you’re staring down at the next passenger.
Daydream. I didn’t want to add this but since I do it some ninety percent of the time, I thought why not?
Nap. Feeling tired? Then a nap during your commute time will do you good. This depends however, on your seating position and the duration of the commute. And a gentle reminder here: it’s called a nap, not a full fledged slumber.
Did you find your favourite commute activity on this list? I’m looking for more ideas to add to my current list. So, I’d like to hear from you.