Talk to anyone who lives in a big city, and they will tell you that they’ve resigned themselves to the fact that they have to travel, sometimes large distances, to reach work. According to a study published in the Times of India, the average commute time of Mumbaikars is 47.26 minutes; Delhiites is 42.96; Bangaloreans is 37.91; Chennaiites is 36.08; Hyderabadis is 33.82 and Puneites is 30.87 minutes. Compare this to the average drive time in America (24.3 minutes) and commute time in Malawi (2 minutes), and we realise that we spend a significant part of our lives commuting.
As per a New York mag story, commuting can negatively impact a person’s quality of life: people who suffer through it each day tend to have more stress, a lower level of well-being, and even rockier marriages. A Science Direct survey even claimed that commuting beat out house cleaning and work itself to become the most happiness-draining activity.
But does that mean that you are resigned to suffer for the rest of your life? Evidently not. According to life coach Veechi Shahi, there are many things you can do to make your commute productive. The first step, however, is acceptance – it is a pre-requisite to the many ways one can creatively occupy travelling time.
Veechi believes that following one’s hobbies and interests and simply taking time off to think and meditate can go a long way in making a long commute more bearable. Reconnect with yourself.
Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Use this time as me-time to introspect and meditate, or rest and relax before you begin your big day.
– Veechi Shahi, Life Coach.
Use this time and consciously plan for your day. “Prepare for a meeting, study your material, answer emails, catch up with what’s happening in the world by reading the news, hook up a meeting with a colleague to discuss ideas and insights… there are tons of things you can do to plan your day better,” says Veechi. In fact, a paper led by Columbia Business School doctoral student Jon Jachimowicz found that people who use their transit time to mentally plan for work are better off than those who spend it on other things.
Stack up on knowledge as well. Investing in an iPod is a good idea for those who have long commute times. Not only does music bide time well, but you can also subscribe and listen to podcasts on a variety of subjects and brush up on your knowledge and current affairs.
Carpool it up – this one’s for those who drive to work. Driving in the city can be stressful, anxiety driven and often boring. Why not perk it up by finding people who work and live around your area to carpool with? Not only will taking turns driving reduce the stress and tiredness, but you’ll also have a friend to talk to as you crawl home in rush hour traffic. Besides, it’s good for the environment. For those who don’t drive, taking an Uber or Ola pool ride can be a good idea – it’s cost effective, too.
Snooze. According to the New York mag article, the beauty of the commuting nap is that it takes one of the most hated ways to spend time (commuting) and replaces it with one of the most beloved (sleeping). If you travel by train or any other mode of public transport, this can be your time to simply catch some shut-eye and relax before that long day in the office. The easiest way is to slip on a pair of headphones to cut out the ambient noise and put an alarm for a few minutes before your journey time ends. Ah, bliss!
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