7 things to do on a commute (or tedious journey)

I’m reasonably lucky in that most days I’ll get a seat on the train. This is probably because I’ve negotiated more flexible hours to fit inline with overseas clients and the trains are much less busy.

In times past people used to read a newspaper or a book on their commute, nowadays most commuters are wired into a device, either a tablet or mobile handset. Looking around you can see the majority are watching last nights 24 or playing 2048 or a similar game. Commuting is a great opportunity to make use of time, which can be dull and unfulfilling if you let it.

If you’ve got a mobile device, why not try one of the following ideas to enrich your commute or tedious journey?

1) Catch up – whether that’s on emails, text messages, Facebook messages, tweets or evading the hundreds of parent mail letters that come through… This time on your own is the perfect opportunity to get on top of things. Not only does it give you a huge sense of achievement as you pull into the station but it also means that you’re already ahead of yourself for the day.

2) Sit & smile, take in what’s around you, all the personalities and life stories surrounding you. Purposefully make eye contact with your fellow passengers and smile. Sometimes there’s even the opportunity to spark up a conversation. Go on! break the norm, it is guaranteed to make both you and others feel really good!

3) Be mindful focus on looking out of the window if you have one, if not, focus on one point in the carriage, bus etc to zone out on, you can close your eyes but I find this too ‘shut off’, so doesn’t really work for me! Then concentrate on your breathing (slowly and steadily). focus on something outside yourself – focus on something to your left, focus on something to your right and breathe.

Take in how lucky you are, think about all and anything that is good in your life. If you are genuinely in a foul mood and nothing feels good then think about those with absolutely nothing, those who are physically or mentally suffering – even they can find positives. This ‘sort-of’ meditation is blissful, especially if you have raced around to get to the station and have barely caught your breath yet today.

Starting the day with ‘an attitude of gratitude’ and being mindful of your lot is a very productive and beneficial thing to do, not only does it make your day more fruitful and happy it will actually rub off on those around you. Try it and see the difference it makes.

4) Shopping – If you’re like me and you loathe shopping and resent the time it eats into your limited spare few hours, even with no wifi or service it’s possible through the use of an app (like Ocado’s on the go app) to spend your journey compiling your shopping list/meal planning for the week. Not only does it save time but you also end up spending less as you don’t meander around the aisles being tempted but new product lines or satisfying whimsical cravings!

5) Watch & Learn! – One of the best apps I’ve ever downloaded is the TED app. TED is a not for profit organisation promoting ideas worth sharing. It has over 1700 different talks/lectures from a vast array of people covering almost all topics, from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Watch a TED talk and learn something, get an idea or they’ll just make you think! You can download them to your device too so no need to use your data watching them!

Click here to read more about TED

6) LISTS make a list, a wish list, a to-do list, a list of things to try not to do, … Lists, area great way to summarise and quickly capture all of the thoughts racing round in your head at any one time. By making a list on your mobile device it is always there to be added to or when items are complete – they can be deleted off or, even more satisfying – they can be crossed off so you can visibly see progress, plus, in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep as you have too much going around in your head you can add to these lists and almost compartmentalise your worries/concerns. I love a list!

7) Thoughtfulness Finally, how about using this time selflessly, to zone out and think about your friends and family. Think about the people you know who are struggling at the moment and think about ways you could possibly help them out in any way them or simply just make them feel better. Remember, what comes around goes around, think how great you’d feel if you made a tiny difference to someone’s life, if only in a tiny way, you’d feel really good about it. Giving yourself time to think and consider others is not only great therapy but is also a kind and considerate thing to do.

Emma

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