My commute is a sacred space. I’ve been commuting at least 45 minutes to and from work or school for the past four years, and I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with my routine. I pull up to the train station, headphones in hand, listening to my current favorite playlist and ready to see everything I missed on Instagram last night. Approximately half-way through my commute, I’m bored.
Instead of my usual scrolling, I’m trying to be more mindful on my commute to do things that actually benefit and improve my day. Whether you’re trying to spend less time on your phone, don’t have WiFi on the subway, or are just over your everyday Instagram sweep, try these on your next commute. Oh, and it obviously goes without saying to not do these while you’re driving!
1. Listen to a podcast
Everyone loves podcasts, but they’re even better on your commute. Whether it’s your hobby (like the beauty industry!), all about work and productivity, or a true-crime, pop-culture, or just a fun topic, there’s a podcast for every single mood.
2. Review recent purchases
Go through your bank statements and the pending purchases on your debit and credit cards. Be aware that there isn’t any important account information present, of course. Be on the lookout for unauthorized charges, bills that are on auto-pay, and any pending charges that haven’t gone through yet. This will allow you to make sure everything is up to date and that you’re not missing out on any money that should be in your account. It also might change your mind on if you actually need that LBD that just went on sale.
3. Read an ebook
While this obviously suffices if you’re planning to bring a book on the train ride with you, reading an ebook on your tablet or phone gets rid of some of the bulk in your bag. Whether you’re reading nonfiction, a self-help classic, that new murder mystery, or a romance, getting in some good reading time might help you actually reach that Goodreads goal you made last January.
4. Learn a new skill
Your commute doesn’t have to be wasted time every day. Use that time in the morning and evening to learn something new. Whether you’re reading a how-to book, watching tutorials online, or following an online course, your commute is the perfect time to incorporate a little learning into your day.
If you’re looking to get into a field, boost your resume, or amp up your interview skills, our Land Your Dream Job course would be amazing to do on your commute. It comes as a PDF download, so you can easily add it to your iCloud files and read on the go!
5. Schedule a date
You don’t have to be on Bumble and Hinge to make a date with someone. While you could use this time to swipe and invite someone out for drinks, you could also use it to catch up with friends and make plans for dinner over the next month. Go through your texts and see who you haven’t spent time with in a while. Making plans is a much more tedious and awkward task than it should be, making your commute the best time to get it out of the way.
6. Delete old photos
Raise your hand if your camera roll is a graveyard to weird photos you took in Target, photos of that mysterious bump on your thigh you sent to your mom, and thousands of photos of your dog (or selfies, both really apply here). All those photos we’ll never use again can pile up and bog us down, making it impossible to actually find what you’re looking for when you really do need a certain photo. Go through all those folders and actually get rid of the ones you’ll never use again. Reminder: delete the photos in your “deleted” folder too!
7. Look through newsletters
Going through your inbox is a great commute activity, but I personally love to catch up on the newsletters in my inbox and read all the articles I’ve been putting off or don’t have time to get to during the day.
8. Actually go through your screenshot folder
While you’re going through your camera roll, it’s a good idea to sift through all those compiled images in your screenshot folder. The Instagram story from your ex that you had to show your BFF, that recipe you’ll never make — the list goes on.
9. Delete old alarms
Remember that one time you took a 5:30am yoga class and had to wake up at 4:45? Or when you were catching an early flight? How about the time you took a nap but needed to be awake before the finale of The Bachelorette? Delete all those old alarms you’ll never use again and prioritize the ones on you actually use every week. This is about to feel so good.
10. Watch beauty tutorials
Beauty YouTube videos can get long sometimes, and it’s not always our first choice when Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ exist. Queue up your favorite YouTubers for your commute when you can totally focus on all those new techniques.
11. Unsubscribe from emails
While you’re going through your inbox for newsletters, take that time to unsubscribe from all those lists you forget signing up for or immediately hit delete every time you see it.
12. Unfriend and unfollow
Go through your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social medias and unfriend and unfollow people you don’t know, don’t like, or don’t care to be friends with. It’s simple as that — no hard feelings!
13. Call your mom
Calling my mom is never short and sweet, so doing it while I’m on my commute home has always been my move. Pop in your headphones and tell each other all about your days, what you’re thinking about getting your sibling for their next birthday, the neighborhood gossip, what you’re making for dinner — pretty much everything is fair game here. That extra time talking to a loved one will make your train ride go so much faster.
14. Look for new recipes and meal plan
Scroll through Pinterest, our meal prep archives, and your favorite food bloggers to find new recipes to try this week. While you’re at it, you can create a meal plan and grocery list to keep you on track and eating healthy, delicious meals all week long.
If you want to do something on your commute that doesn’t include your phone, meditation might be your best bet. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, anytime, so it’s a great addition to your daily routine. Practicing it on your commute will help you get in the zone and feel at ease, less stressed, and grounded before your work day.
If you are OK with using your phone, apps like Headspace and Calm are great for mindful meditations. Just make sure you don’t miss your stop!
16. Make a to-do list
Do a brain dump of everything you can think of that you need to do. It can be as detailed or as vague as you want! Cleaning the garage, changing your sheets in the guest room, updating your resume, returning that top that didn’t fit, and changing your oil, are all great things that we often forget to put on your typical day-to-day to-do lists.
17. Update your LinkedIn
Updating your LinkedIn to reflect your current position and duties can be done on the app in a flash. Simply the act of checking your account, approving any new connection requests, staying up to date with your field, and endorsing your friends, coworkers, and colleagues for their skills are easy to when you’re just sitting on the train.