Making Long Commutes Productive

Richmond Train Station

My life has drastically changed over the last three months. I’ve moved out, moved interstate and moved in with my boyfriend all in one hit. I’ve started my first full-time, professional job. I’m having to maintain and run a home as well as coping with waves of homesickness. But the biggest change I’ve adapted to is my long commute between home and work. On a good day it will take me an hour and a half on public transport. On a bad day it’ll be at least two hours. Compare this back to Perth, where everything in the suburbs was a ten-minute drive.

While long commutes can be a pain in the ass, I’m also learning they’re full of potential. If you know what to do, you can make them incredibly productive, and even make them the best part of your day.

  1. Set Up & Reflect on Habits

    Long commutes in the morning are perfect for setting up habits. As I’ll re-iterate time and time again in this post, long commutes give you heaps of time to daydream and plan. This includes thinking about your habits. I love sussing out my habits first thing in the morning, because they’re fresh in my mind. For instance, after the morning rush, I realise there are all these things I need to do instead of sleeping in for those ‘ten minutes’. Once I settle onto the train, I use Productive to set up my daily, weekly and monthly habits. Another way I love to keep track of my habits is through my Kikki.K Habits Journal and Habits Tracker, but I’ll talk about those another time.

  2. Read a Book

    While I’ve always loved reading, I’ve been incredibly slack with leisurely reading over the last two years. Long commutes have allowed me to dedicate a part of my day to dive into a book. Now I’m back to my pre-teen self and flying through them. The trick is to find a book that’s not too bulky or too big for your bag, otherwise you’ll get frustrated when you dig for keys and transport cards. In the past six weeks, I’ve already finished Stephen King’s On Writing, Sam Thompson’s Communion Town, Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants (with the sequel currently in the mail!) and Samantha Shannon’s The Mime Order and The Song Rising. That’s almost averaging one book a week!

  3. Set Up and Review Goals

    Time to sound like a broken record: long commutes are a great opportunity to day dream. Personally, my thoughts will wander to the goals I’m striving for. My long commutes allow me to fully indulge in where I want to take my  life and the necessary steps to get there. Once I’ve outlined my goals, the next step is to check in on them and make sure I’m on the right path. While I love using Kikki.K’s Goal Journal to track my progress, Remente is perfect for commutes. The app allows you to set a goal and outline the baby steps that’ll allow you to achieve it. Plus, you can assess your mood and life as a part of your personal development.

  4. Write

    One thing I’ve been craving since starting full-time work is the opportunity to write. And trust me, there’s a lot I want to write about. Because neat hand writing and rattling trains don’t mix, I was reluctant to use the train as a writing opportunity. I could use my iPhone as a writing tool, but I find it’s screen size limiting and my creativity flows better when the words are written by pen. However, the urge to write has become so severe, I’ve decided that the time on long commutes is too precious to pass up. I usually spend time writing internal thoughts, my current challenges and experiences, potential blog posts, sci-fi stories, research… even my shopping list. When it comes to writing, the options are endless!

  5. Composing a To-Do List

    I’m a sucker for writing down multiple to-do lists. No kidding, I have every type and size imaginable on every topic. Ideally, I’ll write a to-do list the night before so I can start off the day prepared. But on the occasions I’m running behind, my long commutes are the perfect time to catch up and list down everything I need to do. From booking appointments to shopping reminders and food prep, I write it all down on my many notepads and on One List where I can set up reminders. You can also prioritise your tasks as ‘Urgent’, ‘High’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Low’ so it’ll automatically list your tasks in order of importance.

  6. Plan Your Week

    Nothing will make you feel more organised than planning your week — and month — in advance. It can be really tricky finding the time to plan ahead, but (like I said earlier) long commutes are ideal for these kind of activities. I’m traditionally a pen-to-paper kind of girl with my Kikki.K Time Planner, but since starting my full-time position, I’ve started to re-evaluate my weekly and monthly planning tools. For the time being, I’ve been using Apple’s Calendar as it’s easy to change events and set reminders, but I’m looking forward to using my Time Planner more regularly again.

  7. Check on Your Budget and Finances

    Probably the second challenge I’ve had to adapt to is setting up and sticking to a budget. After trying out a few budget apps, I fell in love with Fudget. Fudget allows you to create several budgets, and within that budget you add income and expenses. I do it month-by-month to correspond with my pay, but you can structure it however you like. The best part about this app is how much you can customise it to suit your money flow. Plus, it does all the working out for you so you know exactly how much have to spend a month, as well as the left overs. It doesn’t take too long to do either, so it’s perfect for short and long commutes.

While you can also use commutes for more enjoyable tasks, such as streaming your favourite TV show or scrolling through IG, I love making my commutes productive as they allow me to enjoy myself more at home. How do you enjoy your commutes? Let me know in the comments below.

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22 Comments

  1. October 2, 2017 / 1:21 am

    Amazing post for the ones with long commutes! I van’t do anything in trains or buses without getting sick to my stomach. So I’m focusing on listening to music and breathing haha 😀

    • Justine
      Author
      October 2, 2017 / 10:04 pm

      Funnily enough I used to be the same, but only on the bus that would take me to uni! I couldn’t study on the bus, I could only listen to music x

  2. October 2, 2017 / 3:55 am

    I loved reading this post. It’s really amazing and those are great ideas.. I am just like Jasmin – can’t do anything but listening to some music. But this in general is very useful. I am curious boit those apps that you’re using – the one about habbits – need to find something like that.:)

    • Justine
      Author
      October 2, 2017 / 10:05 pm

      I used to have a strict “no looking down” rule in any moving vehicle, because I never knew when motion sickness would kick in! All the apps are amazing! Would also recommend ‘Daily Goals’ for habits and tracking them x

    • Justine
      Author
      October 2, 2017 / 10:06 pm

      I was the same in high school, and found commuting a really good way to meditate 🙂

    • Justine
      Author
      October 2, 2017 / 10:07 pm

      Thanks Jaime!

  3. October 2, 2017 / 6:26 am

    I usually think of solutions to some of my problems while traveling. Nice post!

    • Justine
      Author
      October 2, 2017 / 10:07 pm

      Great idea! Public transport definitely gives you the time and opportunity to do so.

  4. October 2, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing such an illuminating post. Keep writing.

    • Justine
      Author
      October 2, 2017 / 10:07 pm

      Thanks Prateek 🙂

  5. October 3, 2017 / 12:00 am

    Great tips. I always find myself making to-do lists and coming up with ideas for new blog posts 🙂

    • Justine
      Author
      October 3, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      I’m definitely using my commute more and more for blog posts, but I’m hoping to use it for NaNoWriMo soon 🙂 x

  6. October 3, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    Useful tips Justine! I never forget my book and my notebook, you never know when the best ideas strike! Music is an essential as well.

    • Justine
      Author
      October 3, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      Couldn’t agree more! I always carry my note book, planner and novel as well as my portable recharger so I never run out of music! x

    • Justine
      Author
      October 5, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Thank you so much! x

  7. October 4, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    For months, I want to sit down and read an actual book. I don’t make the time for it. However I read a lot of blogs and that’s pretty cool too.

    • Justine
      Author
      October 5, 2017 / 9:28 pm

      I get quite frustrate at myself when I don’t read. And then when I finally do sit down and open up a book I feel so guilty! Reading blogs are also a great way to pass the time on long commutes! x

  8. October 4, 2017 / 11:59 pm

    I will have to check out that fudget app. I think I could do well with something that would help me to develop a budget.

    • Justine
      Author
      October 5, 2017 / 9:29 pm

      One of the best apps on my phone! I also use it to budget our weekly shopping… had a few too many financial surprises at the check outs lately…

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