Most people spend a considerable amount of time commuting to and from work each day, with around two million employees spending an average of 90 minutes a day in transit. That’s a significant amount of travel time each day, adding up to around 7.5 hours a week – the equivalent of a whole day’s work.
You can imagine how that time adds up over the months and years! But for most of us, the daily work commute is spent either battling traffic or idly scrolling through Facebook while listening to music on the bus or train. Have you ever found yourself staring out the window and wondering if this is really the best use of your time?
While it’s up to you how you use your time commuting to and from work, you might not have considered using this travel time to focus on your professional development. The daily commute presents an excellent opportunity for individuals to take the time to learn new skills, grow their professional network and keep up-to-date with industry news. It can also be a valuable time for quiet reflection and meditation.
By investing those otherwise lost hours into your own professional development, you can quickly and easily improve your skill set and give your career a positive boost. Here are some tips for maximising your daily work commute.
These days, we’re lucky to have the convenience of eLearning, allowing us to easily enrol in online courses on our laptops, tablets and smartphones and study anywhere and anytime – including the bus or train.
In a recent article, we discussed how you can improve your job prospects with online learning, with eLearning being an excellent way to manoeuvre the gaps within your education. As we said then, “for anyone who is struggling to find a job or move up within their company, expanding on their skill set is an ideal way of setting themselves apart and becoming more equipped to handle the workforce.”
Employees who are willing to develop new skills and improve their existing skill set are highly valued by many employers and organisations. Take a look at our list of 5 free online courses to help you succeed at work, with our top pick of eLearning courses to help you improve your time management, public speaking or negotiation skills.
By using your commute time for regular eLearning, you’ll also be keeping your brain active, challenged and engaged, which is good for your physical and mental wellbeing.
If you drive to work, you can still spend your daily commute learning, by tuning into podcasts featuring favourite industry leaders or subjects relevant to your field.
With so many industries moving at such a rapid pace, particularly IT and the creative industries, it’s important for employees to stay up-to-date with industry news and developments. Using travel time to catch up on podcasts for your professional development will help to improve your self-confidence and knowledge in these areas and give you a competitive edge over your colleagues.
Whether you’re driving in your car, or taking the bus or train, podcasts can help maximise your commute time, furthering your knowledge and sharpening your skills without even interrupting your daily routine.
Your morning or afternoon commute can be the perfect time to actively build and maintain your professional network online. If you’re going to spend time browsing social media in your travel time each day, you may as well spend a few minutes investing in your career as well.
Use some of your daily work commute to connect with other people in your industry through LinkedIn or Twitter. Being part of a professional network can help keep you motivated, focused and energised in your work.
If you’re lucky enough to have a work mentor, or someone who regularly inspires you, use your morning travel time to catch up on their news or career developments. Why not share some of your own recent work achievements, or articles about exciting things going on in your industry?
Spending a little bit of time each morning to feel inspired and energised will also have you arriving at work in a more positive frame of mind.
Using travel time to relax and recharge might not sound very beneficial for your professional development, but daily meditation can bring significant positive changes to your whole life, including your career.
By taking some time, even just ten minutes each day, to practice deep breathing or guided meditation you can reduce the risks of burn out and improve your mental health. This will make you a more resilient and well balanced employee, contributing to better work performance and results for you and your team.
Your morning train ride or bus trip (as opposed to your car!) is a good time to practice meditation, as you’ll start the day feeling focused and calm and ready for work. Think about your morning rituals – do you usually start your day feeling rushed, frustrated with late trains or annoyed at fellow passengers? Choosing to incorporate more positive practices into your existing routine will cost you nothing in time or money, but bring significant long-term benefits to your health and wellbeing.
Now think about how you can start getting the most out of your own daily commute and whether you would be better off investing some of that time into your professional and personal development. It could be a very good move for your future career.