Commuting is a fact of life. I work from home half the time, but I’m increasingly finding that I spend more and more hours on the road getting to one of my jobs. Despite living in the same city as my job, it can take more than an hour (and three buses) to get there.
Spending your commute time wisely is one of the smartest, most efficient ways to work on your side hustle and make the most of your day. Not only does it allow you to make the most of otherwise dead time, but it will take some of the stress off your day just to know that you actually did something productive in that time. If you’re stuck on the bus, or in the back seat of a car for an hour or two every day, start embracing that time and making it part of your side hustle.
Here are 5 ways to use your commute time in a more productive way:
1. Use your time in the car wisely, or carpool. There’s a lot of potential here. If you’re the driver, use your cell phone on the hands-free setting and you can make calls or leave yourself voicemail memos or reminders. You can use that time to make the calls you’ve been forgetting to make, or haven’t had time for. If you’re a passenger (or have one in the car), you can use this time as a meeting to brainstorm for your side hustle or strategize for the day or week. Either way, there is always something you can do in the car, whether or not you have your hands free.
2. Public transit. This is where I spend most of my time. I use this time to write content, transcribe interviews, send emails to clients or editors, and schedule my week and make priority lists (a super handy tool to stay focused). If you’re like me and get motion sickness when you read or write in a vehicle, make the most of the wait time if you have to transfer buses or subway lines on the way to work. I find I’m much more productive in those few minutes compared to many other times of day because I’m laser-focused and it’s almost a game to see how much I can get done in such a short period of time.
Making calls can be bit trickier because it’s usually much louder on the bus or in a station while waiting for a transfer, and oftentimes you can’t get a signal in the subway. This commute time is much better spent on quick and easy tasks on your to-do list.
3. Cab and/or Uber X. Cabs and Uber are expensive commuting options, so I only tend to use them when the public transit system is running super late. With cabs, unless you have a regular cabbie pal who knows what route is best for you, you need to direct them. Uber can be a better option because there’s less of a discussion due to the convenience of the app. You can commute in comfort and make any calls (at a volume that’s respectful to the driver), set up your day for success, or just take some “me” time to relax and listen to music or podcasts. It’s important to try and make the most out of this otherwise-indulgent commuting moment, so that you’ll feel less guilty about having spent the money on a ride.
4. Walking. If you’re lucky enough to live close enough to your job to walk – that’s awesome! Writing or reading while walking takes a special gift (seriously, I have no idea how some people do that!), so this is also a good time to make calls and set up appointments. I can’t stress leaving voicemail reminders enough, or even making to-do lists for yourself on your phone.
Walking (or any way of commuting, really) is also an awesome opportunity to just zen out and enjoy a few quiet minutes to yourself. Don’t check your phone for new texts or emails, and don’t answer it if it rings. Listen to some chill music on your headphones and relax or get pumped up for the day. Taking that few minutes of time to yourself can make you more productive later on in the evening.
5. Cycling. This is perhaps the most risky side hustle office, so it might be preferable to take advantage of your bicycle ride by using it as a change to cross “daily exercise” off your to-do list. Just pay attention to what you’re doing. Follow the rules of the road and please don’t end up as street pizza.