How you spend your morning greatly affects the rest of your day, so why not make the most of it?

Whether you drive to work or take public transportation, don’t waste the time at the dusk of day. You’ll be surprised how much difference can a productive morning commute make to an otherwise mundane day.

The Cost of Time Wasting in Gridlocks

According to World Bank’s Malaysia’s Economic Monitor report  (2015), Malaysian city dwellers spend more than 250 million hours a year in traffic around the Klang Valley areas; which resulted in a decline of 1.1 – 2.2% GDP growth. The cost of congestion affects not only the country’s development but also individual’s well-and-wealth-being.

While public transport in KL is not always reliable, it’s still a more economical option to travel to work. On top of that, getting stuck in traffic has been proven to be the source of frustration and stress. Hence, most of us suffer from morning blues on a daily basis without even realising it and subsequently become less productive throughout the day.

The best thing you can do to boost your productivity while driving is listening to podcasts on topics that relate to your work and interests, besides catching the news on the radio, of course. Just remember not to let your mind wander off the road.

For the minority of us who are frequent public transport commuters, below are the five activities to help you make the most of the morning commute.

Read Books, Newspapers, or Articles

It’s not uncommon to see people staring at their smartphones on the train (most likely squandering Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline), but that’s the last thing you would want to do if you want to improve your lifestyle.

Don’t fancy a lengthy novel so early in the morning? You can still get your reading fix with apps like Flipboard and Medium. From the latest news to thought leadership articles, just take this time of the day to catch up with what’s happening around the world of work. You’ll never know what eureka moments may spark as you stumble upon an interesting read. Morning reads are especially helpful as your mind is still fresh and ready to consume more information as compared to other time of the day.

Create a to-do list

Smartphones are not just for entertainment; let’s utilise it to organise your to-do list more effectively. Some people make it a habit to check emails while commuting in order to quickly prioritise their tasks. By setting yourself up for a long day ahead, you’ll be more likely to stay focus despite the constant distractions in the office.

There are a plethora of apps to help you manage your to-dos in a smarter (and more engaging) way. Furthermore, most of them can be synced with your desktop, making the workflow smoother between devices. Check out WunderlistEvernote or Trello to organise your day on the go.

Learn Something New

You can also make use of your smartphone to upgrade your knowledge; what better way to spend the time on the train than to study? It’s all the more important for those who want to advance their careers. Give yourself a competitive edge by powering up your professional skills now!

Some of the most popular e-learning apps include UdemyCoursera, and Udacity. With engaging video presentations and resourceful study materials, you can get the same level of education as with other university courses. The fields of study are also aplenty; you can search and enrol in any class (free and paid) from business, marketing, and languages to even coding, you name it. Simply download the lessons offline so that you can watch them on the train.

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As for language learners, there are more niche options like  Duolingo and Memrise. The best part? Once you have achieved a certain level, you will be rewarded with a certification to embed on LinkedIn!

Listen to Podcasts, Audiobooks, or TED Talks

Feel like you can’t concentrate on reading or studying while on the go? You can still improve yourself by listening to educational podcasts like an actual (audio) book or a TED Talk. If you haven’t heard of the popular talks such as “How Schools Kill Creativity” by Ken Robinson, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek, or “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brené Brown, stop scrolling Facebook and tune in these powerful speeches now.

You only need to set aside around half an hour a day to feed your mind with positive energy for success. This is one of the little things you can do to empower yourself as well.

Journal or Freewrite

Inspiration usually comes from unlikely places and more often than not, you need to seek inspiration from within.Random thoughts make an infinite source of ideas; so if you haven’t experienced the magic of freewriting, try it! 

You don’t need to be good at writing to write. In fact, everybody writes and it’s one of the best ways to unleash your creativity no matter what your job is. Simply record all your thoughts on a notebook (or on your phone) during the commuting time. It can be the random people you encounter on the train, an interesting event, or even your thoughts right after you wake up. Freewriting allows you to explore your inner self, to practice mindfulness and most importantly, to nurture ideas.

Self-awareness allows people to recognise what things they do best so they can then go hard on those aspects of their life. It also helps you accept your weaknesses. — Gary Vaynerchuk

Seize the morning commute to do any of the above activities, you’ll be able to start off a working day with full energy and positivity.

Do you have any tips to make the most of the morning commute? Share with us in the comments below.