3 Productivity Hacks to Maximize Your Morning Commute
For those who take mass transit to and from work, the time in motion can be anything from frantic to feeling like forever. Sure, it may seem like staring at the seat in front of you or doing your best to avoid being accidently tossed about like a ragdoll in a jam-packed subway car is the most you can do until you reach your destination, but this time can be spent in a far more meaningful way.
Don't let this time go to waste. Here are 3 productivity hacks that will make your commute one to be proud of. OK, reading a celeb gossip rag now and then or flipping through Facebook is fun once in a while, but with some strategic planning, you can make those minutes (or hours) life-changing. Take a seat (hopefully next to someone courteous) and move the needle as you move towards the office!
1. Plan Your Day
Once you find your spot on the train, bus, subway, or some other mode of transport, unless you're driving, it's the perfect time to create a "to-do" list to organize your actions and activities for the day ahead. By getting all your meetings, work responsibilities, and other scheduling in order before you set foot in the office, you're already one step ahead of the game – ready to get to work as soon as you clock in.
Hubspot notes, "Taking that extra time to think about each task can help you prioritize and set realistic expectations." Business Insider adds, "By creating a to-do list and prioritizing the day's responsibilities, you're setting yourself up to have a more organized and focused workday. If you can't actually write a list because you're driving, it can still be useful just to have a mental checklist."
Jot down your notes on pen and paper (the old-fashioned way), or try an app likeEvernote. Once you capture your note, it's instantly available on all your devices. Type in your to-dos or use the voice recording feature. Planning will make your day more structured and less stressful.
2. Catch Up on Email
For nearly anyone with an email account, the morning means an inbox filled to the brim with both important information and a whole lotta junk. Use your commuting time to dump the spam and annoying advertising messages and sift through the important work email. If you can get back to some of the senders, do so, otherwise read through the messages and asses which are the most pressing so you know how to proceed once you get to the office.
Hubspot notes the satisfying feeling of arriving at the office with a clean inbox. Tending to email before the workday begins can "save at least a half hour and a loss of momentum during the most productive time of day."
An added perk of getting back to some open items in your inbox is that the recipient will see your email at the top of their box once they get to work. Your timeliness and top-of-the-morning work ethic will be looked upon fondly.
3. Read a Book or Newspaper
Stimulate your mind, invest in your interests, and catch up on the happenings going on in the world by doing some reading as you're stuck in rush hour. Business Insider writes, "These activities support your ongoing learning and development."
Bring along an eBook reader such as Kindle, or go the old-school route with a favorite hardcover you've been meaning to dive into. Grab a paper at the newsstand or log into apps or newspaper websites on your tablet or laptop.
While reading books or newspapers may not effect what you need to do for work directly, it broadens your mind, gives you a variety of perspectives, and educates you on general and specific information which can be useful in an array of workplace settings. Plus, it's far more entertaining than reading the poster above your seat for the length of the commute!
Are you ready to get moving with productive ways to spend the commute? No more nodding off and arriving at the office in a fog. Use your commute wisely and the benefits will be as rewarding as arriving at your destination on time.
Every time payday rolls around, I’m on top of the world. Jeff Bezos-level rich - even though I’m anything but. And then somehow the very next day, rent is due.
The cycle continues. The next payday, bills for my apartment. I find myself without a surplus of savings since I just moved and newly-furnished my apartment completely.
Even more terrifying is the looming presence of the holiday season. Halloween’s officially over and before we know it, hello Thanksgiving…and then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s. It’s insane.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmedwww.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight:
Pack your bags — Southwest Airlines is having a major sale! Fares are as low as $59 one-way if you book by October 3rd.
This end-of-summer super sale is a game-changer for your travel plans through the end of the year. Summertime travel gets all the glory. But why not take advantage of your long weekends, holidays, and PTO this fall. You’ll be surprised at how much travel you can fit in. Keep the fall/winter season exciting with domestic trips that give you all the excitement without breaking the bank. All thanks to Southwest.
Here’s the breakdown:
Where can you go?
You’ll find discounted tickets to and from most airports. Sale fares apply to cross country travel, and even Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean! Whether you’re visiting a new city or revisiting your last beach vacation, this sale has fares to make your travel dreams come true.
What do the fares cover?
Southwest Airlines has multiple fare tiers, each with various benefits. Wanna Get Away fares start at $59, while Wanna Get Away Plus fares start at $89. You can also find great deals on Anytime fares, which offer priority boarding and express lanes. Then there’s Business Select tickets for a luxe experience at an affordable price point.
Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member?
You may think these sale fares are too good to be true. Is there a catch? Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member to access them? You’re in luck — anyone can attain these fares for a limited time.
But, insider tip, you should consider signing up for Southwest Rapid Rewards. With a free sign up, you earn points and miles with each trip you take. And with this sale, each dollar you spend on these discounted tix can stretch super far until you eventually earn free travel. The only thing better than a sale is free stuff.
I’ve been browsing the Southwest Airlines site, checking out flights and dreaming.