If your company offers employees pre-tax transit benefits, you can use your daily commute to kill two birds with one stone. When you fund your trips to and from work with a commuter account, you’ve won half the battle. The other half is making your commute work for you.
Whether your door-to-door is 2 hours or 20 minutes, boost the productivity of your daily commute with these 5 tips:
Your neck, shoulders, and back might need some TLC if you spend (or spent) most of your day at a desk. Poor ergonomics and bad posture leave something to be desired when it comes to health and wellness. If you’re sitting on a train or stopped at a red light, help your neck muscles by titling your head down toward the ground and gently moving it from side to side. Do a few shoulder rolls by pulling your shoulder blades together and pushing your chest out. Finally, knead your neck with your hands to relax your muscles while you sit (or stand.)
Whether you’re on a bus, in a car (solo or vanpool) or riding another form of transit, you can give your ears and mind a treat. For starters, listening to songs you enjoy has multiple psychological benefits. You can also tune into a podcast or audio book. Check out this list of best podcasts from 2021 compiled by Vulture. Finally, regardless of your commute time, you can engage in mindfulness with a mediation app or a guided session on YouTube.
Try to sneak in some food during your commute, especially if it’s the morning and you need to jump start your brain. If you only have time for a bagel, opt for the whole wheat and go light on the cream cheese. If you prefer snack-like foods, eggs and nuts provide protein and healthy fatty acids like Omega-3. Remember, you can splurge on a healthy breakfast now that you’re saving (pre-tax) on parking and transit expenses. It’s a win-win situation.
It might not be the best sleep you’ve ever had, but some shut-eye during your commute can help you feel more well-rested. Since you can relax knowing your ride is covered with pre-tax commuter benefits, a 15-20 minute nap should be within reach. If you go past 20 minutes, you might enter a deeper stage of sleep and wake up groggy instead of restored. Aim for a 15-20 minute nap if you have a short commute. If you have a longer commute, try to rest for 15-20 minutes at a time with periods of alertness in between.
Once you have a commuter benefit plan, you can capitalize on your daily commute. Find out how much you’re saving with a commuter benefits calculator. After that, you’ll have time to… Learn a new language. Catch up on the news and current events. Clear out your personal inbox. Schedule a doctor’s appointment or a haircut. Make your grocery list (and be sure to include those healthy breakfast foods). Pay your bills. Draft some work emails. Shop at the FSA Store to use your funds before the end of the plan year. Trade stocks. Text your honey a sweet message. (OK. That’s not exactly productive, but it could produce great results!) Memorize all the lyrics to Hamilton. You get the picture.
Everyone’s version of productivity is different. How will you make your daily commute more productive? Share in the comments!