14 Commuting Life Hacks for Increasing Productivity and Beating Stress

Commuting is a notorious time-waster of even the most notoriously productive people.

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ime is always the most valuable resource of those who live Limitlessly and unfortunately, commuting robs us of between 5–10 hours weekly. To worsen the offense of commuting it robs us of 5–10 hours of what could be our very most productive times; early mornings and late afternoons before dinner, these are time slots that could be much better served…

  • Day planning
  • Eating healthy
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Working on entrepreneurial projects
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Or staying fit

In addition to its immense cost in time, commuting is often a quite stressful activity, things like traffic jams, rude drivers or missing one’s bus or train will spike your stress levels.

If you believe that time is money here’s an equation for determining your personal cost of commuting:

Your hourly compensation for your most productive activities X amount of hours you spend commuting a week + hard costs of having a car, gas, or public transportation fares

A Lifehacker.com article estimates that the costs of just a 40 minute each way commute, multiplied over 10 years will cost you at least $60,000 of wealth and 1.3 work years worth of time.

Considering its immense cost could commuting be what’s holding you back from living limitlessly? Here are 13 life hacks for minimizing time spent commuting or at least making it more productive and less stressful.

Listen to educational podcasts.

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Listening to albums or pop songs and commercials on the radio is a seriously unproductive way to spend your time behind the wheel. Go into knowledge acquisition mode during your commute by listening to educational podcasts or audio programs. A lot of people like audiobooks but I feel I learn a lot more from podcasts, the knowledge in books is best absorbed in book form when you are devoting 100% of your attention to the book. Whereas a podcast is created for the knowledge to be absorbed in 30–45 minute chunks of time, also podcasts are free! In addition to the Limitless Mindset Podcast, here are some other podcasts we recommend or you can just search iTunes for subjects that interest you.

Play Dual N-Back games on your phone.

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20 minutes of Dual N-Back training a day is scientifically verified to increase your working memory, essentially the amount of RAM that your conscious mind has to solve problems and get complex things done. Dual N-Back training can be played as a game on your Android device or iPhone. If you don’t have to drive and focus on the road play Dual N-Back games during your commute. Learn more about Dual N-Back software and it’s effects on the mind.

Take public transportation or the train.

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If you commute to the same place consistently public transportation is almost always a more Limitless commuting option.

  • It saves you a lot of money over the cost of driving.
  • You can take the time to enrich your mind by reading a book or playing Dual N-Back games.
  • You can outline a plan for a productive day using an application on your smartphone like Evernote.
  • You could write or even work on your laptop or tablet device.
  • I even know some people that work on their social dynamics and communication skills (like using memory systems for remembering people’s names and remembering personal details) while taking public transportation. They make it a point to chat with strangers sitting near them, just think how many people have made friends or even met their lovers this way.

Many people decide against public transit because you usually have to spend a few minutes waiting at the bus or train station. If taking public transportation adds a few minutes to your commuting time you have to seriously weigh the benefits of public transportation against the time spent. Starting your day stressed out because of an unexpected traffic jam is seriously not good for having a healthy and productive day, in contrast, public transportation almost always runs on time, anything that saves you from stress is seriously worth considering.

Carpool.

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If you have coworkers in the same area save time, money and stress by riding to work together. If you don’t have coworkers in the same area you can use the site ERideShare.com to find a carpool in your area.

Examine your route.

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Avoid the gridlock and breathing in fumes on the freeway, it may very well be that a lesser-known side route is less congested and will get you to your destination faster. I once found an alternative route to work along a creek through a historic neighborhood in my city. I’m not sure how much time it saved me but the nice view from the drive was a great way to start my day. Makes sure to run your commute through Google maps and select the avoid highways option. 30 seconds spent checking the Google maps traffic overlay of your commute may save you 30 minutes sitting in traffic.

Adjust your commuting times. Leaving 30 minutes earlier or later may also save you time sitting in traffic.

Take voice notes.

Many productive people use their commute as a time to organize their thoughts for the day. While this is a pretty good idea the problem is that you are frequently distracted while doing so (especially if you are behind the wheel, in which case the vast majority of your attention should be on the road).

Organize your thoughts and record them for future review using voice notes apps like Tote Notes (Android), Dragon Dictation (iPhone), Evernote or Google Docs (via Android text transcription). Some of these will integrate with your Bluetooth device so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

Don’t speed.

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Unless you are commuting across the country, speeding or aggressive driving won’t save you enough time to be worth the risk of getting a speeding ticket or in an accident.

Don’t look at (or think about) what time it is.

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This one might seem a little counter-intuitive but it will seriously save you some peace of mind. If you are late, worrying about what time it is will definitely NOT get you to your destination any sooner, all it will do is stress you out and make you less productive once you actually get to your destination.

Call people.

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In today’s world of text messaging, emails and Facebook hearing the voice of a friend or family member is special. Depending upon what you do for work you could even make productive sales calls or calls to your coworkers or boss. Again a Bluetooth device is highly recommended so you can focus on driving safely.

Use Gasbuddy.com

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This website will tell you where to find the gas station with the lowest gas prices in your area. Gas prices don’t vary a lot but if you buy a lot of gas, over time-saving 5%-10% can add up! Obviously, you shouldn’t drive all the way across town to get the cheapest gas as it would defeat the purpose. Find the cheapest gas station within a few minutes of your regular commute.

Yell at a cute little teddy bear.

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Lots of people seriously stress themselves out by road raging at their fellow commuters. Buy a cute little teddy bear and place it on your dash, when you feel the urge to road rage yell at the teddy bear instead. Then you will feel silly for yelling at a cute little teddy and probably laugh at yourself. Humor actually repairs the damage that stress does to your DNA.

Move somewhere more central to your life.

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If you can live central to your job and the places you go most frequently. Over the years I’ve found that if I lived in the central or downtown part of my city I was equidistant from the majority of the places I needed to commute to. This cut my commuting time down significantly from living in the suburbs. Many people choose to live out in suburbs to save money, they should seriously weigh the savings in money over the high cost of commuting in time, money and stress.
Trulia Local has a very useful heatmap style tool which integrates with a map that estimates how long your commute will be to different places. Probably a good idea to check this out before deciding to move someplace.

Work from home.

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The ultimate way to save yourself from the tyranny of a commute is to work from home. With the current state of technology, employers are taking telecommuting a whole lot more seriously. Unless you are a waiter or lifeguard, chances are that at least some of your work can be done via computer, which means it can be done from home. Here’s the process for shifting your work environment from the office to home:

  1. Identify several tasks that you do in your job which can be done from home.
  2. Propose to your boss that you will be more productive batching these tasks together and devoting 1 day a week doing these tasks from home. Ask for a trial day working from home.
  3. Be extra productive and focused on your trial work at home day, show your boss the results.
  4. Propose making this a regular weekly thing.
  5. Overtime if your results working from home are consistent, propose to your boss that you spend more of the work weekdays at home. If you may even want to be subtly less productive while in the office to show your boss that you are a more valuable asset to the company working from home.
  6. Propose using Skype or a Google+ Hangout to check in with your boss in the morning at the same time you would usually roll into the office. That way your boss knows you ain’t slacking or sleeping in on the company dime. Also, let your boss know that you are installing Rescue Time or Facebook Limiter on your home computer so you won’t be wasting time on social media.

If you boss is especially difficult to convince that working from home is a good idea, you might want to show them this Standford University Study which conclusively shows that employees who work from home are more productive, happier and less likely to quit.

emWave While Commuting

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Commuting in stop and go traffic is a notorious source of high stress, to combat this hardcore Biohackers use the emWave2 device while commuting. emWave technology is based on 20 years of research on the mindset state of “coherence” between the heart, brain, and autonomic nervous system. Achieving coherence, basically feeling zenned out, has been linked to mental, emotional, and physical benefits like decreased stress levels.

The biofeedback device provides immediate feedback for events that stress you out… Get cut off by an errant mom-mobile? Zap the stress in moments as opposed letting the low-level stress brood over you for minutes or hours.
Since the emWave2 device is small and relatively undistracting, you can place it on your dash or center console, and safely practice heart rate variability training along with meditative breathing while driving.

Originally published at www.limitlessmindset.com.

Written by

Adventuring philosopher, Pompous pontificator, Writer, K-Selected Biohacker, Tantric husband, Raconteur & Smart Drug Dealer 🇺🇸

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