Over the last 27 years I’ve lived and stayed in various places in and around London all with very different types of commute, taking in every kind of public transport (apart from the Emirates Air Line).
After a few years working from home, I started commuting again and decided that I would use this time only to benefit my long term success. I’ve used my commute for learning, planning my future, upgrading my skills, fitness and meditation.
Here are my top tips for making the commute work for you.
Re-design your route
If you commute to work in London, there will be several ways to cut it. Don’t just accept the shortest, quickest route. Design your commute to optimise the time that you can spend doing things that are important to you and working towards your personal success, even if it means a longer journey. Think about what you want – fitness, reading time, productivity or well-being – and design your route around that.
Get above ground
Underground mobile hasn’t yet arrived in London, and wifi access is patchy. So think about using buses or overground trains to maximise sitting time and mobile or internet access. You’re more likely to get a seat on a bus, with the added bonus of taking in the surroundings. Seeing the greenery in London everyday will add to your well-being.
If you have a long overground train journey, you can be especially productive, more so when there are tables. This is time to get meaningful work done without interruptions. In one journey you could write a chapter of a book. Or complete a module of an online course. You can even start a business. If you need reliable internet, get a phone contract with maximum data and tether your laptop to it.
Resist free newspapers
What’s more important to you, your life goals or appearing to be well-informed on current affairs? Really important news will find its way to you.
Meditation & wellbeing
Even with a 10 minute sit down, you can meditate. If you can learn to meditate surrounded by people on a train or bus, you will be able to relax absolutely anywhere. Use the Headspace app to help you build a daily habit and you will see amazing benefits in 30 days.
If you don’t fancy that, cut through a park or churchyard and appreciate the trees and nature around you.
Can you go via the Thames, or even take a river bus? The river air has an energy that uplifts and refreshes you ready for work – I actually get a little buzz when I think about my daily walk across the Millennium Bridge.
Commuting can actually make you fitter and healthier. Here are some ways…
- Escalators: A free gym! Walk up the escalators everyday and you will burn calories, increase your core strength and tone your body. This is a no-brainer.
- Cycling: If the idea of cycling to work is too daunting, pick up a Santander Cycle and do the last mile by bike. Increase the amount bit by bit until you build confidence to do longer distances. Take safer and more scenic routes through parks or along canals.
- Walking or running: Get off the bus or tube early and walk. Take in a park, a canal or the Thames if you can.
I hear you… you don’t want to arrive at work sweaty and there’s no showers? Do your exercise on the way home instead.
At the very least, use your commuting time to set intentions for the day. What outcomes would you like? If you do this you will focus better at work.
Commuting is an opportunity for valuable ‘me time’, personal growth and working towards goals. Use it wisely and it could change your life.