How To Keep Your Cool and Be Productive while Commuting

Manila, PH is just one of those places known for having the worst vehicle traffic ever. And I have to deal with it every single day since I live in Makati and I go to school in the University of Santo Tomas. It takes me an average of two hours to get to school and another two hours to go home, not including waiting or queue time. So you can just imagine me travelling by car or by UV express living my life on the road for four hours or so.

When you’re stuck in traffic, there’s no use fretting and cursing at asshole drivers. You’re just wasting your time whining about how much time you lost in traffic. Instead, focus on what you can do and what you can control. So, take a deep breath in and breath out and read on this full-proof list of things you can do to outsmart traffic, keep your cool, and be productive while travelling around the Metro.

1.Download and use the Waze app.

Waze is a navigation app for drivers who want to outsmart traffic. I’ve used this app a lot and I love how it shows what roads to avoid and what routes to take. Because of this app, my travel time cuts to an hour or more. Also, I get to discover a lot of detours. If you’re new to Manila or if you want to know your way through whatever destination, you can navigate through this application. So, what are you waiting for? Download it now!

2. Download movies and TV series you can watch during your commute.

Download and watch GoT series at your own risk though and if you don’t mind people staring and thinking you’re watching porn, LOL.

3. Read a Book.

The typical Metropolitan lady or gentleman nowadays won’t really have that much time for other things he/she wants to pursue other than his/her chosen career.And If you’ve always been that person who wants to read and finish a novel, a self-help book, a hobby book, etc. and always finds a lame excuse, bring that book during your commute and read it while waiting for the train, for the cab, for the bus, etc. You can read while riding a vehicle though, if you’re one of those elite few who has mastered the technique of reading while on a moving vehicle.

4. Review or study your lessons.

If you’re a student like me, you’d understand how precious time spent in studying during a commute is. In car, train, or bus rides, successful scientists, engineers, doctors, writers, etc. are made haha! Before your commute, make sure to prepare flash cards, and index cards full of formulas, readings, and other cheat sheets you need.

5. Check on your planner and review your agenda.

While travelling to your workplace or school, you can read and write on your planner as well as write on your to-do list for today. This will save you so much time and will make you upstart your day. I recommend limiting three to five important tasks on your to-do lists as most of the time, if you list down a lot of things to-do, you might not be able to cross everything off.

6. Read the morning paper.

Be aware of the happenings around you and use this time to catch up on the news. Pick a newspaper before your travel or you can turn your data on and read online, whichever you prefer.

7. Observe people.

This is something I love to do when I get bored during a commute. I observe (not judge) how they dress, how they act, how they talk, how they walk, how they look, etc. Doing this makes me emphatic and makes me understand people from different walks of life. You can do this too and make up stories in your mind about these people. Write down that story and save for later. That story you made up about other people might turn into an award-winning, best-selling novel, who knows?

8. Daydream and/or reflect on life

Go ahead, stare into the distance, and decide who you want to be, what you want to do, and what you want to have. Dream about the vacation you want. Dream about that car you want to have. Dream about that promotion you’ve always wanted.Everything else started from a dream, dear. You’re a diamond in a rut and you were meant to shine. So dream on because dreams do come true.

9. Pitch Ideas.

Always, always bring a pocket-sized notebook and a pen with you because ideas come quickly in different forms and sizes. When you have a eureka moment during your commute, write it down immediately. Don’t ever listen to yourself when you say you’ll remember it later. Because, trust me on this, your mind is not a storage machine and you’ll definitely forget about it later. No matter how crazy an idea might be, write it down. You’ll never know when you’ll need a great idea for a business proposal, a blog post, an artwork, etc.

10. Talk to your driver.

Be a social butterfly and start a small talk with your Uber, Grab, UV Express, Cab driver. Trust me, these people know a lot, and you’ll definitely learn a lot from them. Also, don’t forget to be respectful.

11. Read on blogs and magazines.

Bring a magazine with you for you to read and if you have data, go on and read on those blogs you follow. And if you want to save your battery life, you can save blogs for offline reading.

12. Eat your heart out.

If you haven’t eaten your breakfast, lunch, or dinner yet, pack up a meal and eat it during a travel or buy food before riding that train, bus, or cab. Who cares if the whole vehicle smells like shawarma? Not me.

13. Meditate.

Meditation helps you focus and be calm. Meditate on a vehicle only if you are comfortable and if you are safe. For those who are just starting up on their meditation practices and for those who want to start, you can download the app Calm available on both Android and Apple devices. The app has daily guided meditation and has different relaxing background noises you can listen to, to block out the annoying traffic noises.

14. Download Microsoft office apps.

There are a lot of Microsoft office apps that you can download so you can use Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on the go so you can maximize your time. You can get started on work or on a project you need to do while commuting with these apps. Also, you can revise or edit documents on the go. Final revisions for your documents can be done once you get to your office, school, or home.

15. Scroll and catch up on your social media accounts.

Again, do this one if you have data on your phone, or if you have mobile internet.

16. Catch up on your zzz’s.

Sleep on a vehicle where you know you’re safe, okay?

17. Plan your weekend.

Commuting is a perfect time to plan on your weekend. Look forward to this and do your best in school or work.

18. Listen to music.

Launch your Spotify on your mobile device, or whatever music app you use and discover new tunes. Listen to your favorite songs and this will instantly brighten up your day.

19. Do your homework.

I’m actually amazed at the students who can do their homework during commute. I suggest that you don’t procrastinate, though.

20. Do your hair and make-up.

Do this one if you’re one of those who’s mastered the art of putting on make up while on a vehicle. Also, you can try and practice this at your own risk. Try to be careful in applying your mascara and eyeliner. You won’t want to draw black lines all over your eyes.

I hope you’ll realize how much time you have during your commute and how you can maximize this time to be productive. Also, some of my suggestions here require mobile data and will cost a lot of battery life so bring a powerbank with you.

Manila is a jungle full of predators ready to attack you the sooner you are unaware. So, be careful and be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your things, as well.

If you enjoyed reading this blog post, please don’t forget to give it a like and if you have suggestions on what to do while on a commute, please comment down below, I’d love to hear from you guys!


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