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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.