Not a morning person? Yeah, me neither. Because of that, having a happy and productive morning commute has always been a real challenge. I used to roll out of bed and move like a zombie (read: half asleep) from my apartment to the subway to my office, never really taking advantage of the time. Recently, though, I realized that I was wasting a significant portion of my day by not, at the very least, using my commute to start the day off on the right foot.
My morning commute is nearly an hour long, and it's become my favorite part of the day (well, second to the moment I get into my bed at night to go to sleep). I use the time to read, listen to Podcasts, and walk as much as I can to get in my daily 10,000 steps. It's the only time of the day I have completely to myself — I usually leave my apartment before anyone I know is even awake yet — and I absolutely savor it.
The best way to have an easy, happy morning commute is to do what feels right for you, and what will make your day get off to the most positive start. A little secret from someone who likes to think she's mastered this art? Coffee helps. Here are 13 more ways to enrich your morning commute.
1. Don’t Start Working Yet
Your commute happens before your workday actually starts (at least if you’re on time, it does), and should be a time you use to ease yourself into the day. Don’t answer emails or take calls during your commute — use it to start your morning with personal productivity.
2. Download A Podcast
Podcasts are becoming increasingly more popular (thanks, Serial) and now there are so, so many that will make you can listen to and will actually help make you smarter. Learning on your commute? Crazy, I know, but thanks to Podcasts it’s totally possible.
3. Read (Or Listen To) A Book
When else during the day do you really get totally, uninterrupted “me” time? Especially if you’re on the subway, where there’s no phone service. Use the time to finally finish the book that you’ve always meant to read, but never had the time to (War and Peace, anyone?). Download it on your phone so that you don’t have to carry anything extra.
4. Find a Commute Buddy
Carpooling is great for the environment, and taking public transportation with a friend will give you someone to talk to when the train or bus is inevitably delayed, or to hold your coffee for you while you rummage to find your subway card in your wallet.
Exercising in the morning is proven to improve your productivity throughout the day, so if you can make it to work on foot it’s worth taking the extra time. Especially when it’s nice outside, walking can really help wake you up. A friend of mine suggests stopping to pet dogs, also out on their early morning walks, for an added dose of a.m. happiness.
6. Read The News
Even if you’re not a print newspaper type of person, lucky for you there are all kinds of new apps that make taking in the morning news fast and efficient. The Skimm and the New York Times ’ daily email are great for giving the day’s news highlights, and Facebook’s news aggregator tells you what's trending directly on your feed.
7. Wear Comfortable Shoes
There is nothing worse than getting to work and by 9 a.m. already feeling like your toes are going to fall off. Wear sneakers, sandals or flats — whatever you find most comfortable — for your commute, and change when you get to your desk. Not only will it make your commute more enjoyable, but it will make it faster, too; nothing slows down your step quite like sore feet.
8. Buy Yourself Flowers
If you pass a flower shop on your way to work, consider picking up a bouquet. It will make you happy every time you look at it on your desk, and you can use it sniff when you’re trying to mask weird odors on the subway.
9. Try A New Treat
If you need a pick-me-up first in the morning, try a new breakfast or coffee place along your route. Tasting a new latte or breakfast sandwich is pretty much guaranteed to put a spring in your step.
10. Listen To A “Happy Good Morning” Playlist
It’s actually been proven that music can put you in a better mood, so help kill your Monday morning blues with one of these songs that will help you start your day off right.
11. Flirt With Someone On The Subway
If you’ve ever seen the @hotdudesreading Instagram, you know that the subway is apparently rampant with attractive people. Give the cutie next to you a friendly smile — nothing improves your day like a good dose of butterflies-in-your-stomach first thing in the morning
12. Call Someone To Chat
If you have a long walk or drive, call someone to catch up. It will give you something to do, make the time pass more quickly, and you’ll start your day feeling like you’ve already accomplished something. Plus, if you’re anything like me, talking to someone before the work day is always far more pleasant than talking to them afterwards, when all you both want to do is go home and crash in silence.
13. Start A Breakfast Club
Schedule a time, once a month, to have an early breakfast with your friends before work. It’s a great time to catch up with people you may not normally have time to see, and will give you a chance to try amazing new spots while avoiding the weekend brunch crowds.
See? Commuting isn't that bad, after all.
Images: Pexels; Hotdudesreading/Instagram