When I first moved to New York, I never felt like I had enough time, which is something you’ll hear from a lot of New Yorkers. The adjustment of a long commute was a tough thing for me to accommodate to. I used to wake up at 7:30 and be at work by 8. Now I wake up at 6:30 (on a good day) and barely manage to get in by 9 a.m.
I’ve always loved and marveled at public transportation, but, let’s face it, as a mode of getting around, it isn’t always the quickest (although, it is still the fastest way to travel in NYC). The average New Yorker spends more than six hours a week commuting to and from work. In fact, your morning commute is the worst thing you’ll do all day. So, while it’s tempting to try and sleep standing up on a crowded subway car, I really do try to make the most of my commute.
New York Commute: Strategies for Making the Most Out of Your Commute
Here are a few things I do to help me feel like I’m not just wasting my time:
Learn a New Language
This one is really hard for me to do in the mornings, but it is definitely a great way to use your time. I listen to Spanish language learning podcasts and supplement it with a few rounds of Duolingo – a free app that gamifies the learning process and makes it really easy and fun. And it only takes a few minutes a day.
Catch up on the Daily News
I subscribe to a few daily news digests that are already loaded on my phone. I read The Skimm and The New York Times’ New York Today religiously. They provide me with everything I need to know to stay up to date on current events.
Listen to Podcasts
New Yorkers are big into podcasts, so if you’re not listening to them, you’re missing out. Keep up with the water cooler talk at your office by listening to these popular podcasts: This American Life, Serial, Reply All, and Freakonomics. Or listen to The Dinner Party to learn fun conversation starters and discussions at your next shindig.
Get your Sweat On
That’s right. I bike to work a lot. It takes me just under 40 minutes – less than my train commute! Yes, it’s scary sometimes. Yes, it’s annoying to have to have to change out of my bike gear once I get to the office. But I love biking to work. It is so much fun and feels more rewarding than any other way to get to work. I get to the office feeling energized and in a good mood, which is the complete opposite of how I feel when I take the train.
I also often read, menu plan/make grocery lists, and even write social media copy for blog posts on my commute. You really have to get creative sometimes. But whatever you do, please don’t do any type of primping, preaching, or PDA.
What do you do to stay sane and productive on your commute?
(Subway image from Jens Schott Knudsen)