How to make your work commute more productive?
Despite Hong Kong having one of the world’s most efficient and reliable public transport systems in the world, according to the Urban Mobility Index, there is not much you can do about the occasionally blocked road or packed train. Take a step back and concentrate on the things you can control.
While many consider the daily work commute a waste of time, it doesn’t have to be. So, if you don’t want to be part of the 84% of Hong Kongers that are unhappy at work, here are some suggestions to make your travelling time more productive.
1. Clear your inbox
For many of us, the first quick check on emails and messaging apps happens shortly after waking up, as we scan our inboxes for emergencies and unexpected requests. However, we usually don’t answer any of them, as breakfast, coffee and getting ready for the day are obvious priorities. But once we get to the office, our first order of business will be the ploughing through those emails, skimming numerous newsletter updates and replying to meeting invites.
Depending on your position and the nature of your work, this activity can take up a good chunk of your morning. Tackle your inbox during your morning commute will give you a considerable head start, no matter if you are travelling by taxi, bus, train or escalator.
2. Plan your day by priority
The arrival at our desks is often greeted by a flood of pending emails, urgent requests from colleagues and always-empty coffee machines, causing us to panic and look forward to the end of the day.
To avoid that overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start, you should plan your day during your commute to the office. Be it organising your calendar or prioritising your to-do list, a quick planning session in the morning will take away some of that anxiety and give you a structure to hang on to. Plus, knowing the rhythm of your day will help you keep procrastination to a minimum.
3. Listen to podcasts
Not everyone enjoys jumping right into work before even getting there. But that doesn't necessarily mean you can’t be productive or do anything useful. Podcasts are a fruitful alternative to the scrolling of social media feeds ad infinitum.
No matter what your interest might be, you will be able to find a podcast on the topic, ranging from marketing techniques and investment tips to documentaries and breaking news. With most podcasts offering episodes that are just 30-45 mins, your daily commute to and from work can easily be filled with a gentle voice in your ear.
4. Read up on industry news
Keeping up with the latest trends and news is a daily routine for many. Though you could spend your time reading up on your commute instead of at your desk, you could also use that time to read your favourite blog and the backlog of articles sent to you by your colleagues that you’ve been meaning to read.
Although not everything that comes your way will be relevant or interesting, doing your catch-up reading during your commute will allow you to concentrate on your work while you are actually in the office. Just keep a note on your phone with the links to all the reading that needs to be done.
5. Do something you enjoy
As the daily commute is inevitable and fixed component in our lives, it’s crucial to our overall happiness and satisfaction with work to make this journey as pleasant as possible. So do something that brings you joy, be it knitting, planning your next holiday or simply people-watching. It’s important to remember that arriving happily at the office will boost your productivity.
In case it’s not the commute but rather your work itself that bothers you, then you should consider finding better jobs here.