Here at Total Merchandise, we are fortunate enough that we don’t have to contend with the London commute but there are plenty within our ranks that have done their time on those bustling commuter trains and we collected some of their tips for making your commute more productive and a little more bearable.
1. Don’t Take A Nap
This one seems counterintuitive because common sense would say that having an extra hours sleep is going to make you fresher and better mentally equipped for when you do finally get to work. Unfortunately, that is not the case for most people, due to the way our sleep cycles operate, having a quick nap for an hour will likely cause you to feel groggy upon waking up and will actually take you longer to get in to a state of mind that allows you to get some real work done. Not only that but the quality of sleep you are likely to get on a busy, loud train is going to be very poor and the reality of the situation is that you are only going to get a couple of brief ten minute naps due to bumping and loud noises or annoying conductor announcements.
There is also the possibility that, unless your stop is the last one, you will miss your stop and then you will really regret taking that nap. Your time will be much better spent waking your brain up for the day ahead.
2. Brain Training / Challenging Puzzle Games
We already hear you, "How is playing games on my journey to work being productive?". Well yes, playing silly games like Candy Crush or Angry Birds isn’t going to help you out much, but some real brain training quizzes or tough puzzle games (and there are plenty out there) is going to get the blood flowing to your brain, waking you up and by the time you reach your destination you will be fully awake and ready to tackle the day.
3. Make Your To-Do List For The Day
This particular tip was a very popular one because it’s easy to do and reduces the workload for when you get to work. Grab yourself a To-Do list app, we like Evernote or Wunderlist because you can sync these up to your work computer and hit the ground running when you get to work. Then you can spend that otherwise wasted time on the train planning your day out, get your tasks set up and know exactly what you have to do when you get to work, it saves you getting flustered the moment you sit down trying to remember what you are supposed to be doing whilst simultaneously trying to look busy! That’s a really tough look to pull off by the way.
If you aren’t an avid app user, a simple notepad and pen is your trusty companion, make your list and begin the process of ticking things off (we like drawing lines through them) as soon as you get to work. There is a simple satisfaction to be had in working your way down a list of tasks ticking them off as you go.
4. Clear Your Emails
Let us be clear, this is not the same as browsing through the endless spammy personal emails that clog up your personal inbox. What we mean by this is get a separate inbox set up for your work emails and on your journey to work get caught up with anything that happened overnight and reply to those emails that need to be replied to. Arriving at work with a clear email inbox is so freeing, you can spend that extra 30-40 minutes on a creative task, brainstorm something you’ve been mulling over for a project or simply give yourself more time for those tasks later on in the day.
Many studies have been done on how long people spend checking their emails per day and two hours per day is not an uncommon figure, take some of that time away by getting it sorted before you get to work while you aren’t doing anything else. Please be careful with this one though, We cannot stress enough that you must not have notifications set up for your work email address on your phone, your home time is your home time, it’s time to relax and enjoy things. If you allow work to creep into your time at home by checking emails it’s a slippery slope and you aren’t being paid for that time. We work to live, not live to work.
5. Watch Or Listen To Tutorials
This is a fantastic tip if you are the sort of person who really enjoys getting stuck into new things and learning new skills this is a great use of time. Do you work in a creative industry? Watch tutorials for a new technique on photoshop or final cut for example. Are you a developer? Learn a new coding language! Are you in SEO or marketing? Find out the latest news and techniques for improving ranking or user behaviour. There is a world of tutorials out there from like-minded people, use that resource and sitting on the train is a perfect time to do just that.
6. The Zone Out Brainstorm
Brainstorming is such a buzzword these days it’s almost seen as a negative thing but not every brainstorm has to take place in a sweaty meeting room. Grab yourself a notepad and pen, stick your favourite album on and stare out the window if you can. Have a little think about a task or a project you are working on, you would not believe how helpful this process can be for bringing up little things you hadn’t thought of. Trust us.
7. Read A Book
Reading a book is never wasted time, that's why so many people do it on the train and they can’t all be wrong. Reading expands your vocabulary, furnishes you with new ideas and ways to look at the world and can even inspire you to try new things. Also, if you are lazy, there are always audiobooks!
These are our quick tips for making your commute more productive and more importantly a little more bearable, we hope you found something you liked!