After having all the extra time at home during quarantine, it might be tough to climb back into the car. The grind of driving as a part of your commute or even as a part of your daily job can be boring and may seem like it adds very little, if any, value to your day. 

Use your Commute Time

Time is valuable, and even though you may rather be doing something else, you can use that commute to get a few things done that you probably wouldn’t make time for otherwise. Here are five tips for not only surviving the commute, but thriving while doing it.

1. Learn a language

Whether you want to learn a new language or just brush up on your high school Spanish, there’s a podcast for that! Some are free and some require a paid subscription, but either way learning from native speakers on your drive gives you a chance to focus on pronunciation and understanding grammar through repetition. Go ahead and practice your pronunciation out loud, too – no one can hear you! Adding a second or third language to your resume adds to your value as an employee and may open up job opportunities for you in the future.

2. Learn something else

If language learning isn’t your cup of tea, surely you have some other burning questions that you can answer by listening to a podcast or an audiobook on the daily commute. Whether you want to learn more about architecture during the Victorian era or how to be a better boss, there’s something out there just for you. Use this time to glean knowledge that can help you improve your work and your personal life. 

3. Memorize something

Have you always been envious of those who can pull a Shakespeare quote out of thin air, or recite poetry effortlessly? What about memorizing the Constitution or an inspiring speech? Listening to an audio recording in the car can help imprint the words in your memory while requiring almost no effort on your part. Repeat it a few times every day and you’ll have it memorized in no time.

4. Sit in silence

It might sound boring, but give it a try before you discount it. Studies have shown that the brain uses quiet, uninterrupted time to organize thoughts, spur creativity, and even create new brain cells. You don’t have to do this every time you make the commute, but every once in a while, it might be worth a try just to see what happens. Your brain will thank you!

5. Call a loved one

Some loved ones take a little more talking time, and the commute is the perfect scene for that. In this high-speed world, we often miss connecting with others in a meaningful way. Show them you’re thinking about them by taking the time to talk to them while you’re on the road. A phone call from you would probably be a pleasant surprise and a bright spot in their week, and it will probably end up being a bright spot in your commute as well.

Don’t Waste Your Commute

Driving time doesn’t have to be wasted time. Think of it as free time to add unique skills to your resume or build human connections that might otherwise be missed. There’s nothing wrong with listening to music, but you may find that mixing it up every once in a while adds value to your career and your personal life.

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Brynn Mahnke is a freelance writer specializing in creating articles while the rest of the world is sleeping. In her real life she is a small business owner, a mother of seven and a mediocre distance runner who enjoys collecting obscure facts about anything. Get in touch with her at brynn.mahnke@gmail.com.