Three Proven Ways of Getting the Most Out of Your Commute

05 Aug 2015

According to the US Census Bureau, American workers spend an average of 51 minutes commuting every day. The need to stay focused on the road precludes us from using that time for most work-related activities. But just because you can’t check email or surf the web doesn’t mean that time has to be completely wasted.

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Returning Phone Calls

Although you can’t tackle your email while driving, you can use your commute to return phone calls and participate in conference calls. This can be a particularly good option while on a longer drive. Bluetooth systems allow you to safely dial your contacts without having to take your eye off the road.

With the right app, a long drive can actually be the ideal time to schedule a conference call. MeetingMogul, for example, is a one-touch conference call app specifically designed to help you dial-in to conference calls, take notes and call, text and email conference participants with one touch. MeetingMogul, and other apps like it, provide a safe alternative that can allow you to effectively participate in a conference call without distracting you from your driving.

Audiobooks and Podcasts

Commutes are an ideal time to catch up on your reading. While you can’t read a book or newspaper unless your commute involves public transportation, several bestselling business books such as “The Lean Startup,” “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and “Lean In” are available in audio format. There are also an increasing number of podcasts available covering a wide variety of subjects that you can listen to while driving. Many news publications, such as The New York Times, Slate, and Bloomberg, have their own podcasts, giving you the chance to catch up on the day’s events before or after work.

Letting Ideas Percolate

While focused attention is a crucial ingredient to innovation, so is letting your mind wander aimlessly while thinking about your projects and goals. The distraction provided by driving can give your mind the opportunity to allow creative ideas to incubate, according to Harvard psychologist Shelley H. Carson.

For people who find it difficult to let their minds wander while driving, you can use the time to go through a mental checklist of your action items for the day. This can be particularly useful when facing an upcoming meeting. Taking a half hour to mentally prepare the points you want to address ensures your meetings are as effective as possible.

While your commute may feel like a waste of time, it needn’t be. Whether running through your to-do list, preparing talking points for an upcoming meeting, or returning a phone call, time spent behind the wheel can be as productive as you want it to be. The most effective innovators are often distinguished by the way they make the best use of their time, including their commute.

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Adnan Lawai

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