My daily commute to work consists of a train ride of about 30 minutes plus some minutes of walking to and from the train station. Due to the rather good public transport system in Germany, taking the car would only save me about 10 minutes each way.
But even with burning hot trains in the summer, the usual delays and noisy & smelly fellow passengers, I wouldn’t want to do my daily commute by car. I just get so much done while being on the train, especially in the mornings on my way to work.
The time between 7:30 and 9:30 am has now become my most productive time of the day. While the first 30 minutes in this timespan I spend on the train, I have a good 75 minutes at work to fire out the first mails and get the tasks done that require creativity and brain juice.
Wasting time doing the wrong stuff
For ages my daily routine while on the train was checking private mails, twitter, RSS feeds, Facebook, my Pocket reading list and finally work mails & communication with colleagues via Slack. This worked well, but left me unsatisfied. I spent all of my commute either with unimportant private stuff that I would rather deal with in the evenings and weekends or with work stuff outside of my work hours (=unpaid).
After realizing this, I completely changed the way I approached my commute work. Everything I now do while commuting to work is everything I really want to do: Reading a book (usually for education), writing for one of the blogs, light coding, or even just staring out of the window.
I only do the stuff, I have fun doing. I do nothing, that even remotely feels like I’m pressured to do. This change made me looking forward to my daily commute every day, lessened stress I previously experienced because of other people on the train, made my commute much more productive and helped me arrive at work in a more productive and motivated state of mind.
A change for good
This approach immensely helped me getting creative again. For the most part of my working life I was a freelancer or at least had very flexible working hours, which allowed me to set aside time to do the creative work I needed. In my life this means writing or coding, thinking about the web, IT stuff & new projects but also just sitting somewhere with a cup of good coffee and letting my thoughts run free.
Being creative has so many calming effects on my body that only sports like running and cycling can even come close to. Especially writing has the biggest impact on me. While at work I pay close attention how SEO relevant a type of text is or if I worded a mail polite enough for a client, I just enjoy writing about anything I want to without caring if anybody will ever read it.
If someone as stubborn with his daily routines as I am (or was) can embrace a different, more productive routine within a few weeks, you can do this as well!