New Year yet same old commute: How can this be improved?
It might be the New Year but it’s the same old story when it comes to our commute. As we enter 2016 and get back in to the swing of work we are already hit with the all too familiar failings of trains, overcrowding and of course the annual rise in fares so how can we improve our commute to the office?
On the assumption that we can’t simply buy a house centrally in eyeshot of our office to reduce our commute time and we are not smug cyclists who save money and have enviable thighs; I’m exploring ways in which it’s possible to make our commutes on public transport more bearable.
Friends: - This I would say is the best option, speaking to a friend/partner can make time fly, supposing they can provide interesting conversation. The art of making new friends might be somewhat harder, judging from the tube at least, you will largely be presumed to be a weirdo. However, upon taking an evening train from London to Bristol, I did witness a carriage where the regulars had broken the ice with one another, this combined with a booze trolley, effectively transformed the train into a bar on wheels.
Music: - Pumping out the tunes on your work playlist can provide a distraction and escape from the misery surrounding you. Obviously there is a large spectrum of genres: Classical music, allows you to enter the office in a peaceful state or you can go for the complete opposite and blast out loud some Heavy Metal / Electronic music. Studies are inconclusive as to whether an ‘Ibiza Summer Mash-Up 2015’ playlist improves employee productivity, I’d suggest kicking Monday off on all cylinders, then transitioning to Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ as the week drags on.
Sleeping: - It’s said that 2pm is the best time to power-nap, acting upon the post-lunch sleepiness. Unfortunately we haven’t adopted Spanish culture on this one, generally, most bosses will come down on you with an iron fist if caught napping. Sleeping before work is an interesting one: when done well, it can be utilised to counter a sleep deficit from the night before and keep you fresh, on the contrary, entering the office in a groggy state might not lend itself to the faster-paced industries.
Work: - Obvious one, make a start on the day’s work: pop out a few emails, plan your day, write a terrible blog etc. This could be an effective way to improve your career, leave more free time during the day, and reduce the need for long hours, however, in an age where the traditional 9 – 5 has been blown out of the water, I personally wouldn’t recommend it, especially in the mornings when you are staring down the barrel of a 10+ hour day.
Meditation: - On paper, meditation seems like a great option, silencing the mind and reducing stress levels, perfect you say? Having briefly flirted with it myself, I’m aware it involves closing your eyes and a lot of heavy breathing, loud and proud might cause you to garner unwanted attention on a crowded tube but if this doesn’t deter you then meditate away.
Reading: - This is what tends to take up most of my time commuting, firstly it manifested with me trying to digest the financial affairs through CityAM but that eventually became a bit of a chore, after reading about the 100th Merger/ Acquisition. I now find myself in a position where I can read for pleasure, which is very enjoyable and highly recommended.
There are obviously many other options I don’t have room to touch on but I tried to select the ones which require less technology, since we’re plugged in most of the time. So like in many things in life, I’d say the one which involves alcohol is the best option, although while I wait for a drinking buddy you will find me on the tube with a copy of Jane Austin in one hand and an unopened beer in the other.
Oli Dare, Principal Resourcer