The commuting life

Sometimes I feel like I could write an entire blog about my daily commute. On the regular, I’m coming and going from Connecticut to the Big Apple Monday through Thursday. My train sesh, which generally lasts about an hour and 25 minutes-or-so, is generally productive. Let’s define productive, shall we?

Productive (adjective) – [pruh-duhk-tiv] – Yielding positive results.

When you’re commuting for roughly three hours a day, it should be! Are you a commuter? And if not, do you have three hours a day where you think to yourself self … you could be doing something more than just sitting on Facebook. Well here, that’s why I will provide my suggestions on how to be productive with your “extra” time:

1. Use spare time to catch up with friends

Everyone told me that once I started commuting it was going to be difficult to have a social life. And well, it’s true. Generally I’m exhausted by the time I get home and all I want to do is crash (so what if it’s by 9:30 at night?). That’s why I find it critical to message with friends and get a few life updates. This generally happens on my commute home, considering I only have a handful of people who will communicate with me consistently before the hour of 9 a.m. People always appreciate the random text. I’m OK with providing that.

2. Become an active member of social media

I get most of my news via Twitter. Of course, I share my fair bit of nonsense of the site, as well. But when it comes down to it, that’s where I find out what’s going on in the news first thing in the morning. And UberSocial (the client I use) has a tab that explains what the trending topics are, and WHY they are the trending topics. Super helpful, especially when it comes to kickstarting my day at the office. Engaging in social media gives you a web presence, and from what I’ve learned, it’s definitely beneficial to establish yourself online. Hmmm, I’m sensing a post on this within the next few weeks …

3. Learn

My No. 1 goal when getting onto the train is to find a window seat. I don’t care if someone is sitting next to me. I just want to have something to lean on for when I partake in #4 (catching up on sleep). Generally when I cannot find a window seat, that means the train is swamped. And well, I usually end up in a configuration like this:

Yup, there I am … in the corner. And the other day, I was fortunate enough to sit next to a man who decided to have a full blown conversation for 25 minutes on the phone in a foreign language that I could not identify, at first. For the unaware, there are two rules for the train:

1. The first rule of the train, is you do not talk ON the train.

2. The second rule of the train, is you do not talk ON the train.

This man was clearly unaware of the unofficial train rules. So I listened intently to his conversation, and went to the Google gods. My gibberish led me to find out he was indeed speaking Polish. See … always learning. This made me think that perhaps I should try to learn a new language during my commute. I’m kind of an audio learner, though. AKA, I need to hear someone say it to me, and I need to repeat it back. If you’re like me, and whether you’re on the train or in the comfort of your own home, talking to yourself just might give off the wrong impression.

4. Catch up on some ZzZz’s

Like I said, I try to sleep by 9:30 — but it doesn’t always happen. Using your spare time for some shuteye will increase your mood, and make you more productive once you’re back into the swing of your day. My apologies to anyone who has seen me immediately post-train nap. I’m groggy.

 

… and those are just a few, for now. Time to watch the season finale of Top Chef. Let’s GO RICHARD!

Do you commute to work? What do you do in your spare time that’s productive?

 

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10 thoughts on “The commuting life

  1. So happy to see your commuting post & so happy to be part of your commute sometimes! Your visual aid could not be more perfect, and as a matter of fact I am in that exact seat right now. Love the rules – wish more people followed them!!

  2. I used to commute to Boston for 6 months and after switching to the Rhode Island location of my job and no longer having to take the train to work, I can NEVER go back to the commuter rail. I would be exhausted by the time I got home at 7 and would usually never make it to the gym. How do you get home so late and still stay fit??

    • It isn’t easy, Shannon. Seriously — I’m in the same boat. By the time I get home around 7:20, I’m zomped after a day at the office. But … I make it a priority. I may get off the treadmill sooner than I want to most of the time, but getting on it in the first place is the important part :)

  3. I have a 15 minute subway commute (that’s nothin’ compared to yours!), but I always use my WordPress iPhone app to start writing any blog post thoughts!! You have awesome tips though :D

    -courtney

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  6. I take the New Haven line into the city M-F. You are definitely correct – It’s completely draining. I don’t have time to shop, pick up dry cleaning, go to the bank, get haircuts. I’m awake at 6:15 am, home at 7 pm on a very good day, 9 pm on many days.

    Some other unofficial train rules that need to be obeyed at all times:

    Don’t sit next to someone when there is an obvious open seat that you can take somewhere else.

    Try not to make eye contact with the person sitting directly in front of you if you are in one of those two seaters that face a three seater.

    Don’t listen to your music so loud that people can hear it even when the heater/air conditioning is on.

    Don’t sit in a 2 seater if you are too big for another person to fit comfortably with you. (As a big man I follow this one religiously)

    Be sure to curse Metro North whenever they bring you in on the lower level instead of upper level.

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