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Ways To Make Your Public Transport Commute Less Mundane

Updated: May 16, 2019

By Charis Wong. |

How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. In Kuala Lumpur, an average person takes approximately 1 hour to travel from home to office via public transport - and depending on how you spend your time during the commute, it can be a routine you dread, or something you look forward to.

If you’ve been staring blankly outside the window en route to work, wondering where lost time has gone - or looking at ways to do more during your commute, here are 5 ways to make your morning trips less mundane, and more productive:

1. Create or complete to-do lists

Have a reservation to make? Reminder? or even a task you’ve been putting off for ages because you’ve been busy? List down items that you aim to complete during the day - or if you already have a to-do list of 1-min tasks that can be done in the morning, this is the perfect time to check it off your list!

Google Keep is my favourite app to ensure that I’ve got my checklist at hand 24/7. If you love writing, create a checklist in your notebook!

2. Read

Keep your brain safe from atrophy and do some reading, the best type of brain food you can get. Books and news articles are great starts!

Books - One of my personal goals in 2019 is to read a book every month, and my commute to work has been helping me with achieving that goal! “Good to Great” by Jim Collins was hard to put down, but heavy to carry; until I received a Kindle Oasis as a gift (one of my favourite gifts to date!). Reading has never been so easy. I highly recommend reading e-books - be it via Google Books or even Kindle, as it enables you to have a library at the tip of your fingers.

News articles - Stay up to date with local and international news on the way to your destination; and stop that urge to go on autopilot mode on Instagram and Facebook! Too many articles to read? Use Pocket to save content you’ve been meaning to access, whether its from Harvard Business Review, The Star, Medium, or even YouTube.

3. Plug In

Listen to podcasts or your favourite music! My personal preference is to turn my boring commute into an hour of discovery. Save your podcasts and download them in advance - plan ahead to make the most of your listening time in the train.

Spotify has been my go to app for podcasts - recent favourites?

Check out a few of these unconventional ones: Women at Work, The Doctor’s Kitchen, We Study Billionaires, and ASB Podcast with Sarah-Ann Yong.

4. Reply e-mails and text messages

Image: SEA-Globe

Get e-mails which require quick replies out of your way to spend time on what matters in the office. Life gets easier when you have your office e-mail app already installed in your phone. If you don’t, now’s a great time to do so.

Do you have 146 unread messages on WhatsApp? Friends already labelling you as “the one who never replies messages”? Procrastination is not a habit you should gel with, and ignorance is never bliss in this instance. Take this time to reply messages, and to reconnect with friends whom you have yet to catch up with! Never underestimate the small gesture of a cheery “How have you been?” text.

5. Catch up with someone en route to work!

It can be arduous coordinating catch ups with friends or acquaintances, and hey - 24 hours may not even be enough time in a day for you! Here’s an idea: Find a friend with the same commute, and catch up.

Recently connected with someone on LinkedIn Career Advice? If both your travel schedule is in sync, and that person is cool with having a conversation with you on the train, why not? It’s worth a shot (better with a cuppa coffee, takeaway)!

Regardless what method of transportation you take to your destination, being intentional with your time is important to maximize the hours you have in a day. Being productive does not always mean you have to do something. Sometimes, having time to reflect or spacing out may be precisely what you need in the morning.

Find out what works best for you, and have a good start to your day!

You may also find out more about Charis on her Instagram.

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