Wouldn’t it be nice to have commute stress relief in the morning? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to unwind a little easier on the way home at night?
Your mornings might already be pretty hectic. Maybe you need to help the kiddos get their act together. You might be cooking breakfast or making coffee. Probably you are doing lots of little things just to get yourself ready.
Then comes traffic, train delays, bus breakdowns, or whatever other logistical challenge that seems to encroach on just about every commute. Not to mention all the harried fellow commuters.
Well, you can take some (or all) of the stress out of your commute with one simple technique.
Make your commute time productive time.
We humans are motivated (and satisfied) by a sense of progress. A lot of commute stress comes from feeling a lack of progress. All these things seem to pop up out of nowhere to keep us from achieving our goal.
Our destination becomes our focus, the journey a distraction.
We just want to get to the office, the airport, the grocery store, or the doctor’s office.
But what if we looked at the journey as an opportunity for professional development?
Productive Time is Less Stressful
It all comes down to one simple rule. If you feel like you’re wasting your time, you are also going to feel stress.
You will run through a mental checklist of all the things you need to get to if only this dumb commute wasn’t in the way. You will over-focus on every little annoying thing that adds delay or discomfort.
If, however, you feel like you are making productive use of your time, you will feel less stress. In fact, you might not feel any stress at all.
All that stuff you are over-focusing on suddenly drifts to the background when your attention is on something more important.
That’s the magic of productivity.
Productive and Commuting
But, you say, how can one be productive and be commuting? Those are two separate and competing priorities!
Not so fast.
In today’s world of technology, you have one of the greatest productivity tools at your fingertips.
In a word, podcasts.
There are tons of great podcasts available to you right now and for free. Many are amazing. They are instructional. They are inspiring. They are insightful and delightful.
All you have to do is download a few and plug them into your commuting routine.
Because no matter if you travel by car or bus or train or by foot, a podcast can easily fit into your commute.
Grab some headphones and you’re good to go. You’ll be cutting out distractions and plugging in to some great stuff.
As you listen and drive/walk/jostle on the train, you will make good use of your time. You will be learning and exploring. And you will be entertained.
Don’t Miss Your Stop
When you find the right podcasts, you might find that you come to enjoy commuting time. You might even start to look forward to it.
And don’t be surprised if you get caught up in an episode and end up missing your stop. That might bring a little stress back…until you realize that you just added some more listening time to your morning!
So, what should you listen to?
There are tons of options. Here are a few from my listening lists.
Entrepreneur On Fire – All about entrepreneurs and their path to success, but not just for entrepreneurs. Take these insights into your office and spice up your attack in the corporate world!
The Tim Ferriss Show – Top rated business podcast that covers wide ranges of topics but always comes back to personal growth and development.
On Being – Krista Tippet goes deep with insightful and compelling conversations with top minds.
Dave Ramsey – Personal finance, but also great problem solving thinking. It’s weirdly both repetitive and new every time.
The James Altucher Show – A super smart and super curious interrogator of brilliant minds. I love his interrupting interview style, because he’s often asking the exact follow up question running through my mind.
There are tons more. Try searching by keyword or exploring the “if you like this, you might also like these” suggestions on whatever app you use for podcasts.
As you search for great podcasts and start listening to some on your commute, keep in mind that you are just experimenting.
You might not like the same podcasts that I do, or that your friends recommend. You might like some episodes and not others from the same podcaster. You might feel in the mood for one type of podcast in the morning and a totally different type at the end of the day (that’s true for me).
Whatever the case, don’t fret. It’s just an experiment. Try different things until you find some that you enjoy.
Eventually you will find some that you like and you will start to eliminate some stress from your commute while adding some knowledge and inspiration to your brain. A nice double whammy!
Commutes are stressful, for lots of reasons. A big factor that creates stress is the feeling that you are wasting your time.
Conversely, a big factor that relieves stress and makes you feel good is productivity. Podcasts are a great way to make productive use of time that is otherwise squandered away during your commute.
Start your day with energy and accomplishment by downloading and listening to podcasts during your commute.
Unwind by listening to podcasts during your commute home at the end of your day. Maybe even with a comedy or storytelling podcast. Those can be productive too.
The important thing is to experiment and give podcasting a try. Or if you’re already a podcast listener, to explore and try some new ones to keep it fresh for you.
Pretty soon you may find that the stressful commute that you used to dread becomes a special part of your day, with important “me time” elements for personal development and relaxation.