According to recent survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average work commute in the U.S. now totals 26.9 minutes per day. That’s around 10,000 hours or 416 days over a typical five-decade stint of employment. Some have it worse. Over 14 million Americans dedicate an hour or more to their daily commute.
Needless to say, there are more productive ways to spend that time than inflicting death stares and dispatching obscenities towards unsavoury commuters, as tempting as they often make it. Even doing nothing at all is a better way forward. Read on to find out why and learn more about how you can make the most of your commute as a designer.
Start by identifying how you feel during your commutes. Are you pumped and ready to unleash your creativity as soon as the sun rises? Perhaps you’re less of a morning person and feel your best on the way home.
By knowing whether to ramp up or wind down, you can determine when you’ll be most productive and when to simply relax and re-energize. Remember that both are equally important.
Get a Head Start
Your commute to work is the perfect time to get a head start on the day. If you’re not a morning person, it can be something as simple as answering your emails and messages. Assuming you own a mobile device and are feeling a little more productive, you could get stuck into your work for the day.
Use mobile-friendly software and hardware solutions to make working on-the-go easier. For example, circuit board designers can use online PCB design software with a more streamlined user interface, while web designers with tablets can pick up a keyboard case to make typing out code a less clunky experience.
As a creative professional, you probably know that inspiration often comes from the unlikeliest of places. The train, bus or taxi you take to work is no exception. Pay more attention to those around you.
Notice their clothing, their actions, and overall demeanour. In a world that’s filled with distractions, a bit of mindfulness will help you avoid letting life just pass by.
Meditation is a bit like eating more vegetables or spending less money – easier said than done. Take your work commute as an opportunity to change that. If you wake up feeling tired, stressed, annoyed or distracted, pack away your laptop and meditate instead.
It only takes a few minutes to improve your focus and give your brain a boost of energy. Meditation is especially beneficial to designers, as it enhances your creativity and removes the mental blocks that hinder your work. All you really need is a guided meditation app and a pair of headphones, although neither is absolutely necessary.
There are many other ways to ensure that your commute is time well-spent. You could start a gratitude journal, listen to an educational podcast, learn a new language, set some goals… the list goes on. Find a healthy activity that you enjoy and stick to it.