7 Ways to Make Your Commute Productive

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Raise your hands, ladies, if you loathe the idea of 2 hours of WASTED time every day just to get to your job and back home.

Amen sista!  PREACH!

Mr. Commute and I have a love-hate relationship.  I used to really hate it…and some days I still do.  But when I finally, finally realized the commute was not going anywhere, I decided to put that guy to work…for me.  If I wasn’t going to be able to spend those 2 hours per day with people I loved, or places I loved, or eating things I loved, then I was going to take care of the shit I needed to do then so I could spend my other ‘free’ time with people I loved in places I loved eating things I loved.  So let me tell you the seven ways I now make my commute a productive one, one that works for me.

Keep in mind—not all these tips will work for you.  I commute on public transportation, so I can focus on my phone and some of these tasks during this time.  I wouldn’t recommend or advise doing the majority of these if you’re driving to work, so please, PLEASE don’t try it.  I will say though, some of my suggestions do work way better IF you’re driving and not sharing an environment with a lot of tired, cranky commuters.  So take what works and leave what doesn’t and whatever you do, don’t be hater because nobody likes them (me included).

1. Make yo list, mama.  If you know me by now, you know I love a good list.  I have a Samsung phone (don’t judge me iPhone users, I know I’m one of five people living in California that doesn’t own an iPhone, but I am sure they have the equivalent or, dare I say, better version of this), so I use my S-notes app to make my lists.  Honestly, this is no frills: the MS notepad of the cellphone, but sometimes a simple pencil to paper is good enough for me. If you have an app you love for making to-do lists, then go for it & maybe drop me a line to tell me more.

Examples of lists I make:

·      The ever so popular, generic to-do list for the week

·      The meal-planning list

·      The grocery list to fulfill the meal-planning list

·      The fun things to do this weekend list

·      The people to buy Christmas gifts for list

·      The items I will buy for the people on the Christmas gift list

And the list of lists goes on…whatever list you decide, just make yo list, mama.

2. Set up playdates/mom dates.  Being a working mama can sometimes give me a little bit of FOMO.  Yeah, I usually can’t make it to the park on Wednesday afternoon, which kind of sucks.  But, I also don’t sit on the train and feel sorry for myself about it. HELL NO, Mother Effer.  I whip out my Samsung and I text away at my mom friends and set up some playdates (or mom dates) to stay in the loop of the preschool social scene, the baby latest, or just some good old-fashioned friend time (and drinks).  It’s important to make time for this…for your kids, for your husband, for YOU. Make sure you set up a playdate or mom date at least once per month.

3. At least once a week, I get on LinkedIn and I start adding people to my network.  I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I had been trying for the past couple months to hit that DAMN 500+ contacts status.  I was so determined to get there, and guess what? I did. Besides that, I stay active on LinkedIn. I like posts. I wish people, "Happy birthday" and congratulate them on their work anniversaries.  I message old contacts and say hello in an effort to stay in touch. Remember, as happy (or unhappy) as you are with your current work (or non-work) situation, networking can never hurt.

4. Call friends.  Ok, this is one I do not recommend if you ride public transportation like I do because, well, we all know that person that gives zero fucks about having a loud conversation on the train/bus/subway/etc., and it’s just not cool.  But I still squeeze this in sometimes on my walk from the train to work or vice versa. Since I’m on the West Coast chatting with a friend on the East Coast at 7am PST often works.  When I was commuting in my car in NY, this made my sometimes 2-hour drive SO MUCH better. But PLEASE be safe. Use Bluetooth, don’t be distracted and DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.

5. Go on Pinterest…cautiously.  Are you changing up your hair?  Planning a bday party for your kid?  Getting a tattoo? Having a dinner party?  Go on Pinterest and get ideas on how to execute.  Be careful though, like social media, Pinterest can suck you in and before you know it, you will have 72 pins dedicated to a 5-course dinner when you were planning on making a one dish casserole.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew, or you’ll end up ordering in. Trust me, I speak from experience.

6. Plan your next vacation.  Do your vacation research.  Decide when and where you want to go.  Bookmark some Air BnBs or hotels that look like they could be a good fit.  Look into activities to do in the area. Check the weather for that time of year.  Check your kids’ school schedule to ensure you aren’t interfering with it (I once booked a vaca that coincided with my kids’ first day of school EVER-the mom guilt was real after that one).  Then, when you talk to your laid-back husband (like mine), you can give him 2-3 options, not the 200 you’ve already scrutinized. He will be much happier and you will actually go on your trip…because you’re going to book it and not just talk about it.

7. That’s right, I saved the best for last: SHOP.  This is my favorite way to spend this time and I don’t feel guilty about it…one bit (mainly because I’m not usually shopping for me).  Once I had kids, browsing through a store became a luxury and one I didn’t always want to indulge in during the little free time I had.  So, I decided, for certain items, like kids’ clothes for example, I would do my shopping online. I knew my kids’ sizes. I basically always qualified for free shipping.  And I can pretty much find a promo code any day of the week, so I always feel like I’m getting a deal. But don’t forget, sometimes, you just gotta treat yourself and shop for you too.  Throw in a cute tee or a fun scarf on your next Gap kids order, mama. You deserve it.

Cheers to a productive commute, mama.  Keep on working it.