12 Most Efficient Uses of Your Commuting Time

12 Most Efficient Uses of Your Commuting Time

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time driving. Whether you are simply going to and from work or you are going to meetings or sales calls or interviews or conferences, you spend a frustrating amount of your day behind the wheel. Every minute spent in gridlocked traffic is a minute not invested into improving you business or your professional development. You catch every red light, you go through every speed trap, and you get caught behind every school bus. It never fails. Your precious time is stolen from you by the relentless evil that is commuting.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Driving time can be used to your advantage. Because it’s time that you can’t spend typing up a document or analyzing a spreadsheet or watching a presentation, it’s time that is freed up to devote to activities that may otherwise be neglected. Your driving time might just be the best gift you’ve ever been given.

Here are some ideas to make the best use of that precious gift.

1. Listen to audio books

Poke the Box, the book that had the most significant aspect on my career thus far, was a book I purchased from Audible.com and listened to on my drive to and from work. I have since purchased a slew of audio books that simultaneously kept me busy on my commute and broadened my business knowledge. Sometimes, hearing it can leave a more powerful and lasting impression than reading it.

2. Listen to podcasts

Many business authors and bloggers have weekly podcasts that you can download and listen to. Some of them contain interviews with other professionals, so you can a wide array of insight into business. Check out John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing Podcast to get you started.

3. Listen to YouTube videos

Okay, so you probably shouldn’t be watching videos on YouTube. That could be a little distracting. However, you can start one on your smart phone and just listen in. Many great speakers in business have videos on YouTube. I listened to Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start speech on YouTube while I was driving before I even read the book. Dig around and see what you can find.

4. Listen to music

I’m sure you’ve heard of Pandora, and you probably have a nice music collection of your own. Sometimes, nothing can get you into a more positive, upbeat, take-on-the-world sort of mood than some nice tunes. Rock on!

5. Make business calls

You’re going to have to do it some time. Might as well be now. Pick up the phone and start dialing. Set up appointments. Follow up with prospects or customers. Check-in with your boss, colleagues, or employees. Put your Bluetooth to use.

6. Mentally plan out your day

Planning and prioritizing is usually something that falls through the cracks. You barely have enough time to do everything you need to do in a day, let alone take the time to structure it. Driving gives you time to put your tasks in their proper order. Take advantage of it.

7. Think about your long-term goals

We also sometimes get so caught up in our day-to-day activities that we forget to consider where we are going. We forget the big picture. What do we want to ultimately accomplish in our business or in our careers and how are the activities we are engaging in now pushing us in that direction? Driving gives you time to think about it.

8. Practice a presentation

Chances are, wherever you’re going, you’re probably going to have to do speaking of some kind. Whether you have to give an all-out presentation or are just having a conversation, you’re driving time gives you a chance to prepare what you’ll say. While winging it is never a good idea, preparation can be time-consuming. Use your driving time to prepare.

9. Take in the sights

Did you ever stop to look around you while you were driving? Do you even know the places that you pass on your commute? Take a moment to look around and explore your surroundings. Every day and every place is an adventure. Are you experiencing it?

10. Listen to the news

Yes, the news can be negative and disheartening. Admittedly, I hardly ever listen to it. However, it is nice to learn what’s going on in the world beyond our four walls. Tune in to AM radio every now and then and see what’s going on. You might just learn something that has a direct effect on your business or professional goals.

11. Talk to family or friends

You don’t just have to make business calls. Work can be consuming at times and you may not get to see your family or close friends as often as you would like. Try calling them to catch up. They probably won’t expect it, and it might just make their day.

12. Do nothing

Just drive. Relax. Pray. Meditate. Breathe. Every once in a while, you just need to let your thoughts clear and give your mind a break. Sometimes, the most productive thing to do is to allow yourself to do nothing at all. Take a moment, while you’re driving, to stop thinking so hard.

The larger point of this article? We don’t have to waste a second of our lives. We’ve just got to be a little creative. How do you spend your time driving?

Featured image courtesy of K2D2vaca via Creative Commons.

Doug Rice


Douglas E. Rice is a marketer, writer, and researcher who blogs regularly. He is the author of The Curiosity Manifesto, a provocative guide to learning new things and keeping an open mind.

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