Making the Most of My Commute

In 2017, I accepted a new position at the University of Texas at Austin. I was beyond excited because we would be closer to our family in Texas, have access to the foods we loved (mainly Whataburger), and get back to the city life we enjoyed while living in the DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth area for those that don’t know). For the most part, life in the city was everything I expected it to be. We enjoyed attending sporting events, making new friends, walking around downtown, and getting readjusted to the pace of a major city. But there was one aspect of living in the city that I had forgotten about - COMMUTING!

My commute from my home to the campus is almost an hour each way (depending on traffic and when I leave).  This means that I spend an average of 10 hours per week IN MY CAR!!! At first, it was okay because I was just happy to be back in a major city. But after a while, it got old and I became increasingly frustrated each day while sitting in traffic. I had to figure something out. I had to search for a way to make the most of my commute.

The items below are the ways that I have found to make my commutes incredibly productive and somewhat refreshing:

Listen to Podcasts:
Listening to a podcast has become one of my favorite things to do while commuting. For those that don’t know, a podcast is basically “internet radio on-demand.” Most podcasts come in the form of an audio (or video) series and are accessible for your engagement when you want.  During my morning commute, listening to a podcast gives me an opportunity to learn something new, hear diverse perspectives on various topics, and keep up on trends related to issues that I’m interested in.

Here are few of my favorites:

  • Work Life with Adam Grant

  • Inspired to Live, Bryan Loritts

  • Fresh Air, NPR

  • Jude 3 Project

You can access podcasts just about anywhere. I recommend checking out Spotify, Apple Music, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, or wherever you stream your music.

Listen to Audiobooks:
In 2019, most printed books come in audiobook format. An audiobook is an audio file that contains the narration of written book. I have to admit, I have not always been a fan of audiobooks. As a known bibliophile, I struggled with the concept of not reading a book for myself. However, since moving back to Texas, audiobooks have become a vital part of my morning commute. According to a 2018 Medium article, audiobooks are now the fasting growing sector in the publishing industry. In just a few weeks, I’m able to explore new disciplines, enhance my professional development, and gain valuable insights while riding in my car. I can’t imagine my commutes without audiobooks these days.

There are many ways that you can access audiobooks. However, I get all of my audiobooks on Audible (an Amazon company).

Reflect, Pray, and Focus:
My morning commute is also a time to reflect at the end of the day, start my day in prayer, and focus on the tasks I have to complete. I have found that I am more productive, balanced, and settled when I spend at least a part of my commute this way. The road is filled with a lot of people frantically driving to their respective destinations. Road rage, traffic jams, bad weather, and accidents are all par for the course. At least through reflection, prayer, and focus, I’m less likely to contribute to the madness on the road.

How do you make the most of your daily commutes?