Is your commute as productive as it could be?

When I started to research this month’s blog I began to think about my previous career in London and how I spent 4-6 hours a day commuting via bus, train, tube and then foot for almost 8 years. I could do this commute with my eyes closed and I now realise what I could have achieved over those 2000 hours if I had applied some direction.

There are many benefits of commuting; For every minute you commute out of London the house price drops by £3,000 on average (Anne White, Home & Property) and the air quality is significantly  better in the suburbs (Planning Resource, February 2019). I personally feel however, that the biggest advantage of commuting is having a significant amount of time each day where you are seated (or standing!) allowing you to concentrate on one thing, uninterrupted. You can use this time to plan your day, listen to podcasts, watch educational videos, read literature or to think about your goals and achievements.

 

We live in a fast paced, social media focused world where we are contactable 24 hours a day. We must therefore give ourselves time away from this, to think. Embrace the ‘do not disturb’mode on your phones and make time for yourself – what better time to do this then on your commute! I only realised this as my commute into London was coming to an end, but during the last few months of commuting, I really started to maximise my commuting time by spending time on Tungsten Management Group and away from the distractions of the internet. I could only do so much, but as Stedman Graham said, “Everybody has 24 hours and the question is, what do you do with your 24 hours? That’s what makes everybody equal.”  So, I started to turn my phone onto “do not disturb“/ airplane mode so I could not go on social medial, whats app or surf the internet and this enabled me to listen to educational podcasts whilst looking out at the wonderful Kent countryside (that I would normal miss with my head down looking at my phone). I also read a lot of educational books and with this uninterrupted peace and I was astonished by how quickly I could read a book and how much information I retained. I would also send emails or messages to contractors, suppliers or tenants but as my phone was on airplane mode these would not send until I activated my signal again. I was therefore able to prevent myself from being side tracked with replies. I would only respond to these messages at a time when I was ready.

 

In 1906, Vilfredo Pareto observed that 20% of people owned 80% of the nation’s wealth and in the 1940s, Dr. Joseph M. Juran suggested the same rule applied to time – you create 20% of your work  from 80% of your time https://www.thebalancecareers.com/pareto-s-principle-the-80-20-rule-2275148 . So we should look at the larger tasks that carry more importance rather than completing lots of little tasks that will make you feel like you have achieved a lot (such as administrative tasks) but these are done easily or could have been outsourced. I used my commute (especially on a Monday morning) to plan my week. I used this time to list what I had to achieve this week and when I was planning to do each task. This allowed me to ensure that each task was set a time period so I did not worry about forgetting a task or leaving enough time to complete the tasks. See my previous blog, (https://tungstenmg.com/may-702010) as allocating your time carefully can support the 70:20:10 spilt.

 

Time spent commuting can give you mental and physical space. Last year, I attended a wellbeing seminar  www.bodyshotperformance.com and the following point resonated with me: We are all asked to perform like professional athletes, yet do not get the rest like they do. We have to perform at our peak every day and at all times, yet unlike professional athletes who get time off to rest after a long period of training to their peak to prepare for a race and then rest, we are expected to stay at our optimum performance level. With such expectations the average employee will burn out if they do not take time away from work, screens, social media and technology. In 2018, the average American was on a mobile device for 3 hours, 35 minutes per day, an annual increase of more than 11 minutes (emarketer.com). I found that using your commute productively makes you more energised and focused for when you have to take on your next task.

Take Away Points

  • Make your commute time an uninterrupted space
  • Schedule your time so you make the most of each day
  • Take time out from life so you can recharge yourself and stay focussed

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