All of us complain almost all the time of long commutes, spending hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic idling our time away, often with ill temper and anxiety which reflects on our conduct as drivers on the road (honking overzealously, lewd gestures, loud arguments and even accidents) and if you are being driven then in stressed and irritated demeanor in our interactions over the phone/in person with those we interact with.
As per the last study conducted by the Transport Corporation of India and IIM Calcutta (2012), India stands to lose almost Rs.60,000 crore a year due to traffic delays (including fuel wastage) on high-volume highways. The financial cost, however, does not account for the human element – being robbed of your child’s first words, not being able to take care of your health, strained relationships with loved ones and shorter life spans due to increased stress, worsening health and not enough rest.
Making the case for a shorter commute is easy but being able to achieve it is tough, almost impossible and for the purpose of this article, I will focus on some strategies to enable you to repurpose your long commute effectively instead focusing on those using public transport/shared commutes, so here goes: Repurpose your long commute into C.L.I.P.S. Zones
- Music: Put your headphones on, Listen to some music, relax and see those creative juices flow
- Mindfulness: The effects of a few minutes of mindfulness is well documented and agreed by everyone: doctors, healers, spiritual gurus and even your therapist (if you have one). Let go, concentrate on your breath and just observe your thoughts. Do not admonish yourself, stop judging if you focus too many times away from your breath. Repeat
- Do Nothing: The most radical of all. We are attuned to always be doing something, get jumpy with silence and the lack of things to do. Make doing nothing your companion: observe people, the traffic, and the roadside shops. Who knows what treasure you might find?
- Reading: Catch up on the latest news in tech, your functional area, social channels. Read the newspaper, a book, your kindle or research papers. In slow to not moving traffic, this won’t strain your eyes.
- Use Audible Learning Tools: Podcasts and Audible version of books are your friends. Just close your eyes and get lost into any genre you fancy.
- Watch Videos and Movies: You know the usual suspects: YouTube, your hard disk, just search online for a topic of interest and you can be lost in hours of good content to watch. Great time to watch those movies and TV shows you have been putting off.
- One-on-One with Mentor: Ensure you receive your dose of motivation, advice and wisdom from your mentor in a scheduled session frequent enough that it makes a difference to your career
- Talk to your cheerleaders: You are as strong as your support system. Talk to those who support and back you along your path of greatness and feel inspired to keep going.
- Visualize and Affirm your goals: Reams have been written about how visualizing and affirming your goals can actualize them in reality. Not enough can be written about this but I strongly urge you to read up and use this strategy effectively
- Organize: Create a To-Do list, update it, mark as completed tasks you have done and spend some time taking stock of what you absolutely must get done
- Prepare: Best time to rehearse an important pitch mentally, make notes of discussion points and catch up on review material
- Schedule: Work appointments, class with a workout trainer, a social outing with friends, a squash session with a colleague while on the move and mark these on your calendar for reminders and easy updates
- Meet new people: Have a chat with the people you are travelling with. Make new friends or a business contact
- Catch up: Without causing too much disturbance to those around you, catch up with your friends and family on the phone. This will save on your time when you reach home or office. Please remember: no one likes loud talkers or wants to know what’s going on in your life
- Be Social on Digital: Wish someone happy birthday, upload a few pics, express an opinion, snap a selfie, put some filters and have fun
Thank you for reading my post. Hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please remember to leave a comment. It motivates me to continue writing more stories like this one and yes, it helps people find this post too. Post any feedback or question you have in the comment box below, or tweet to me @jasuja on Twitter.
About the author: Monica Jasuja is a Payments Ninja specializing in Digital Payments Initiatives to further India’s progress as a less cash dependent economy. She is a Product Strategist with work experience in 4 geographies globally and brings knowledge and firsthand experience of designing, developing products with the wow factor. This article expresses her personal views, and not those of any of her employers—past, present or future. Monica is available on Twitter: @jasuja