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Seven Ways to Be More Productive When You Drive to Work

Seven Ways to Be More Productive When You Drive to Work

Many of us spend a lot more time in the car than we would like when driving to work. Although having a long commute gets a bad rap, because it can add up to hours each week that could be spent doing something else, it doesn’t have to be so bad.

Avoid Texting and Driving

Not only is it dangerous, but it’s illegal in most states. Be aware of your surroundings, so you can avoid an accident due to mechanical truck failures, like a tire blowout, and follow road signs, like speed limits. All these things are important for a safe drive, but there are plenty of ways you can be more productive behind the wheel—safely—so your commute doesn’t seem like a complete waste of time.

Catch up on Phone Calls

It’s not a good idea to use your phone the old-fashioned way by holding it up to your ear. That can increase your chances of getting into an accident, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch up on phone calls at all. Some studies are showing that using Bluetooth to talk on the phone in the car is safe.

Avoid using a Bluetooth earpiece, as it can block out important noises on the road that you need to be aware of, but you can link your Bluetooth to the smart system in your car. You can catch up on phone calls by communicating through the speakers in your car so you don’t have to waste your time doing it when you get to the office.

Take Some Notes

Driving can be stressful at times, but it can also be peaceful. You don’t have multiple demands put upon you like you do when you’re at home or you’re carting the kids to and from practice. During that quiet alone time, you may find that you are struck with some of your best thoughts and ideas.

Don’t let them escape! Put them to use by taking notes when they come to you while you’re driving!

That doesn’t mean taking a pencil to paper. Instead, utilize the voice-to-text capabilities on your phone. All you have to do is speak your list out loud and your phone will take notes for you.

Take notes on what you want to say to a coworker, an idea you have for a new product, or the perfect solution to a problem in the break room. You may not act on all your ideas, but brainstorming can inspire other ideas in the future.

Make a To-Do List

If you really want to be productive, you have to start creating to-do lists. They can be used for everything from getting groceries to bills that need to be paid, and definitely what you have to tackle at work each day.

You can create a to-do list the same way you take notes while you’re driving. Skip the pen and paper and simply speak your list out loud to your phone. It will keep track of all the items you mention, and when you get to work, you’ll have everything you need to do ready to go before you even get started for the day.

Catch up on Your Emails

Just as you don’t want to text and drive, it’s also true that you shouldn’t be trying to type out an email on your phone while you’re driving. However, if you have a smartphone, you can take notes, make lists, and catch up on your emails without actually touching your phone.

Have your device read emails out loud and record or dictate a response. If you’re worried about sending the message, wait to edit your email until you get to work. Although it may take a few minutes, it will take a lot less time than if you read and wrote your emails when you get to the office.

Mentally Prepare

Have a big meeting coming up at work? Maybe you’re tackling a new project that has you stumped? Work comes with many challenges that you can overcome, but it does require focus, dedication, and preparation.

Take time in the car before you get to work to mentally prepare for anything you have coming up that day. Mental rehearsal is a powerful skill that you can harness whenever you’re ready to ask for a raise, confront a coworker, or host a meeting for the management team.

Learn a New Skill

It is no longer the case that you can get a job and do the same thing over and over again until you’re ready to retire. It’s normal for people to have multiple jobs throughout their lifetime, and you will do even more diverse tasks, even if you hold the same position. You can get a leg up in your career if you take the time to learn a new skill.

A few types of skills you can tackle by listening to podcasts and YouTube tutorials as you drive include:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Sales techniques
  • The latest marketing trends
  • Customer service
  • Product knowledge

Relax

It’s easy to feel like we’re wasting time if we aren’t marking things off of our to-do list, but it’s important to note that’s not the case at all. Even if you spend your time in the car going to work relaxing and calming your mind, it’s still time well-spent.

Specific relaxation techniques can be used to reduce stress, which is commonly felt in the car on the way to work. Try taking slow, deep breaths as you drive, repeat a short prayer or phrase, or scan your body for tightness, relaxing muscles as you go. If you de-stress before you get to work, you’ll find it has profound effects on your day.

If you spend a lot of time in the car getting to work, you don’t have to feel like you’re wasting your time! Whether you’re worried about a meeting, returning phone calls, or coming up with the next greatest idea, there are plenty of ways you can get a leg-up on your day while you’re still behind the wheel.


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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.