Lots of people commute for work every day in their cars, some for crazy long commutes! And even though it might
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2 hours in the car per day is actually a light day for me. Depending on the day of the week, I could be in the car for over 3 hours. Over the course of a week, I drive enough miles to go to the beach… and back. But it’s not all at the same time, thank goodness! It’s 30 minutes here, 20 minutes there, with drop offs and therapy sessions in between. You could definitely look at our situation and think, man, she’s losing nearly 15 hours a week. That’s not how I look at it though!
I’m not complaining. AT ALL. I’m happy to do all of these things and if my kids needed therapy that was even farther away, we’d make it work, no question about it. I’m thrilled that I have the opportunity to be home with them and that I am available to take them back and forth to all the things they need. I certainly don’t look at this issue of being in the car a lot as if I’m losing 15 hours each week. I simply look for ways to use the time wisely and try to be as productive as possible. And it’s working for me!
Word of Caution
Now, OBVIOUSLY, you should be concentrating on THE ROAD while you are driving in the car. But you can totally do a few things in the car to be productive and not lose your concentration for the road. It goes without saying, DON’T text while you drive, or anything nuts like that. More and more states have new laws that even prevent you from holding a phone in your hand to speak on while driving.
(My state just started this law in July. And while I think it’s a wonderful safety measure, I despise talking on the car speakerphone with every fiber of my being. I’m using the word, DESPISE. No one can hear me AND I feel like I’m screaming at the person just so they CAN hear me
The Order of Productivity:
Check in with your kids
Sometimes I’m by myself in the car and sometimes I have my 3-year-old with me. Sometimes it’s both the 3-year-old and 6-year-old. I talk to them and we sing songs. So, that’s my first suggestion, to talk to your kids, quiz them if they are old enough on math facts or rhyming words or talk about what’s going on at school. But, seriously, we are in the car 2 hours a day. There’s only so much we are going to talk about. Only so many times we can sing the ABC’s. The wheels on the bus can only go round and round so many times. And a lot of the time, I’m by myself in the car.
When I am alone in the car, I just use the car as
Listen to Podcasts
I knew Podcasts were out there. I knew what they were, and I even knew how to find them on my phone. But I didn’t really have any desire to listen to them, nor did I understand that staggering amount of them that were offered! For free! And then one of the co-hosts on the morning radio show I listen to created her own independent podcast, so I downloaded and listened. And that led to another podcast by another person that was a guest on her podcast and then another… and so on.
I have several podcasts I love to listen to. I keep a variety going at any given time, so that whatever the mood calls for, I have an option readily available. Some of the podcasts I listen to are funny, some are serious, some have a lot of pop culture gossip! There are daily ones and weekly ones. I found lots of podcasts about weight loss and health, blogging and parenting.
Seriously, the possibilities are endless. And I really look at it as self-nurturing time for myself when I get to listen to those podcasts!
Audio books are very similar to podcasts! Just much longer. I’ve got self-help books and the latest mystery thriller on the ready in my audio book app. This helps me get some books “read” along the way, because right now, in this season of life, there’s not a lot of spare time to sit down and read. This is a great way I can get it in! Plus, for self help books, I tend to zone out really quickly when I’m reading. If I’m captive in the car, it really gets a better pass at my attention.
To obtain audiobooks, you can purchase a book by book in your app store OR you can do a subscription to a service and get a certain amount of credits per month, like on Audible.com. Lots of public libraries even have audiobooks online you can borrow for FREE and then listen in the car through your phone. Actually, I do a combination of both. I pay $14.95 per month for Audible through Amazon and I get a book a month to download and then there’s a 30% discount off additional books you purchase that month as well.
I just finished “
Make some phone calls to catch up with family and friends. I’ve got a few people I like to check in on during the week and during the commute is a great time to check in. It lets you concentrate on the conversation (other than driving…) and not be distracted by all the things you think you might need to be doing should you be at home. I keep a running list of people I want to check in weekly or every few weeks.
There are any number of blue tooth headsets and speakerphones you can get for your car for hands free calling. However, I have not used any of them and I don’t want to recommend anything I’ve not used myself for you guys. Just know, there are a bunch out there! And if you have a good recommendation, I’d love to hear it, because my car phone SUCKS.
Emails and Notes
I like to use the voice to text capabilities on my phone in the notes app. It will let me dictate into the phone and it converts what I say into text. Sometimes the app gets stuck on the amount of Tennessee accent coming out of my mouth, but for the most part it does pretty well! So, I use it to get started on blog posts, plan a menu for the week, make a grocery list, make a to do list, dictate an email… you name it, it’s probably in my notes app on my phone. It’s really a handy helper for me!
I’ll brainstorm Christmas or birthday gift ideas, travel plans, lesson planning for some extra home therapy for my kids. The sky is the limit on the brainstorming!
Then, when I’m home or at my destination, I can either leave it on my phone for later or email it to myself to further work on when I’m in front of the computer. I do a lot of my idea brainstorming this way. Sometimes the best ideas come to me while I’m driving, and this is a quick way I can make notes about my idea without stopping driving.
Pick Up Line
I don’t have any older kids to wait for in the car rider line at school yet. My guys are still small enough that I walk in to get them each day. Therefore, I’m not sitting in the school pickup line. But if you are – you can really get productive sitting in the school pick up line! Read a book! Watch a show! Whatever you want when the car is stopped! For me, I walk in to pick the kids up since they are little. However, there are always a few minutes after I arrive at the pickup location before I need to go in and get my kids that I can use to do a little something to help me get further along in my day.
I’ll keep a little basket in the car with a book, note pads, mail to sift through, a checkbook, note cards and generic birthday cards. It’s got stamps, pens, tape, stickers and addresses too. Anything I might need to begin and end the sending process of a card, a bill or just a quick note saying hello to a friend or relative. By keeping it all together I am far more likely to actually get said note, bill or card into the mailbox and on its way to its destination!
Make Hay While The Sun Shines… Or While You Drive…
In short, get creative! Don’t just assume because you are in the car you can’t get anything else done. To wrap this productivity chat up, there really are a LOT of things you can do even while you are driving to be as productive as possible and accomplish a lot of work! As always, safety first and make sure you are paying attention to the road. Always, safety first.
I hope this post has been helpful for suggestions for how to be productive in your car commute! Try making a few calls and reach out to some loved ones this week. Look for and try out a few new podcasts or buy the latest thriller or romance by your favorite author! Jot down and mail a quick note to a loved one just to say hello while you are waiting in the car pick up line. Draft a few emails you’ve been meaning to get to for weeks. Use the time available you have to help you just keep shuffling!
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