We tell ourselves that there aren’t enough hours in the day to check off our To-Do List. Whether to make phone calls, catch up on national news, communicate with a client, employee, or boss finding moments throughout where productivity optimization is possible can make all the difference in our work schedule.
Think of your morning commute, how long do you sit at the wheel, in the passenger seat, or on the subway? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it takes the average American 26 or more minutes to get to work. If you work a five-day schedule, that’s 4.35 hours a week and nearly 200 minutes (0r 9 days) a year! So there is time, we just need to figure out how to utilize it.
- If you’re driving
- Wake up your brain by listening to the news or a podcast you really enjoy. Make sure it’s something that interests you so you’ll pay attention and arrive at the office alert and ready to tackle the issues of the day.
- If your car has a speakerphone this may be a good time to schedule some phonecalls. To keep both hands on the wheel I suggest purchasing a hands-free phone mount for your dashboard so your eyes don’t have to travel far. When arranging the phone call ask the other person to call you, so there is no need to look for their contact or file. All you have to do is click accept.
- Plan, plan, plan! While driving, think about the day ahead and what needs to be done first. Mapping the order of your workload allows you to get right down to business once you get to your desk. I like to write a list of things I need to remember on a sticky note, then put it on my dashboard. When I get into the car the following morning I have my agenda for the day, ready and waiting.
- If you’re in the passenger seat/ using public transportation
- Since you’re hands-free this time can be used for almost anything and everything. You can send emails, pay bills, make your grocery list, or plan your day.
- Catch up on news articles, read the latest, and tune into the information that applies most to your life and career. Maybe reading about Kim Kardashians’s 40th birthday isn’t a good use of this valuable time.
- Have you ever wanted to become knowledgeable on a certain topic but never found the time? Now’s your chance! You can research, listen to podcasts, and even learn a language. If every morning you devote some attention to this topic your comprehension will come quickly.
- If you feel comfortable, (and won’t fall asleep, don’t lie it happens to all of us) meditate. Use a guided meditation from YouTube or create a mantra of your own. Think about the ways you can improve your work and private life and set an intention for change.
When you get in the car or step onto the train, Monday morning, have a plan regarding how you can increase productivity during this gift of time. It’s also important to check in with yourself. Sometimes you need to drive in silence to wind down or prepare yourself for the day. Or, maybe you want to blast your favorite music, that’s fine, too! Taking time for mental and emotional well-being is still a productive use of your time.