Professional Development: Long commutes and opportunity cost

Long commutes of 40-50 minutes or more used wisely can make a huge impact in your week day productivity. Here are just a few ideas of the types of activities that can be accomplished during a commute. It may take a bit of pre-planning or purchasing a good knapsack or rolling bag but utilizing the time wisely while commuting can make an impact on chores and hobbies that have been piling up or neglected.

According to Steve Olson, a skilled professional IT couple that commute 3 hours a day has a lost “opportunity cost” of an astonishing $69,000 a year! It is important to look at commuting time as an opportunity and a time management tool and to find a way (such as taking public transit or a commuter train) to accomplish tasks while commuting.

Writing in a Journal or Diary while Commuting to Work

Have you been meaning to start or catch up on your journal or diary but can’t find the time? A pen and paper journal is an easy thing to pack along with you while on your commute. Writing, editing, organizing or maintaining newsletters, letters, recipes, photo albums, or scrap books can also be accomplished during a commute.

Maintaining Budgeting or Accounting Spreadsheets while Commuting to Work

Many commuter trains now have provisions for electronic devices such as small work tables and electrical outlets. If accounting, budgeting or other computer based work is hard to fit into your daily grind, bring a netbook or light weight lap top with you during your commute. Online research is another task that can be completed with a Wi-Fi or remote internet connection.

Catching up on Reading while Commuting to Work

Do you never seem to get the time to read your industry’s magazine or professional association’s newsletter? One way to stay current on industry trends is to read articles written by sector gurus, and articles can be easily printed for reading while on your commute. Create a file folder to store reading that you can grab easily as you leave for the day or put your subscription magazine or journal in your briefcase or knapsack when you retrieve it from the mail instead of piling it on your desk.

Completing a Craft or Art Project while Commuting to Work

Knitting, crocheting, drawing, needlepoint, stamp collecting are just a few hobbies that can be worked on while commuting to work. Messy craft or art projects are not always conducive to travelling but the preparation tasks such as initial sketches before completing oil or watercolour paintings, calculating yardage or researching patterns for sewing projects or planning a woodworking project can be accomplished during your trip to work.

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These are just a few examples of projects or tasks that can be completed while commuting to work. Using your commuting time wisely can dramatically improve your time management and stress levels.