Nine ways to have a better commute

By Andrew Harbison, CA Today

13 May 2016

Unless you get to work in a chauffeur driven car, it’s probably safe to say that your daily commute is not something that you look forward to. It may be unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to be unenjoyable. Here are our picks of gizmos, gadgets and apps to help your journey to work be comfortable, productive and stress-free.

1. Learn something new

A survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of transport app Movit last year found that the average UK commute is 49 minutes each way, so why not use that time to learn a new skill?

Duolingo is a free language app which offers courses in a number of languages. From Swedish to Klingon (really), the app turns the task of learning a language into a playful, game-like experience. Soon you’ll be presenting your 1 o’clock report to the board of directors in the language of the fearsome Klingon warrior empire.

2. Take time to de-stress

The thought of rapidly approaching deadlines, crammed tube carriages and a swelling inbox can easily overwhelm us. But don’t let it get you down, take a few minutes to get your head back to a happy place.

We recommend the free to download Headspace app. Described as a ‘personal trainer’ for your mind, the app offers a free Take 10 programme, which is designed to help you stop and find that little bit of calm that can help you through the day.

3. Comfort is key

Coffee not done its job this morning? Still need to catch a few extra Zs? Would a quick snooze on the train help if you didn’t keep bumping your head off the window as you drift off? If this sounds familiar, then you need a handy travel pillow. The Travelrest travel pillow is easy to store, easy to inflate and incredibly comfy.

4. Listen to a novel

A good book can transport you to fantastical lands, offering a welcome escape from the humdrum worries of the daily grid. But after spending all day staring at a computer screen, sometimes you just want to give your poor eyes a rest on the way home.

Audible is an online audio book service owned by Amazon. With over 200,000 titles to choose from, and a ‘great listen guarantee’ that lets you exchange a book if you aren’t happy with it, you don’t really have an excuse not to catch up with the latest best seller.

5. Stay informed

Ever heard everyone in the office discussing the same news story but all you can contribute is how you watched a really funny cat video on the train? Make sure you avoid those awkward silences in the future by looking out for your daily news email from CA Today, provided by ICAS.

CA Today is sent to your inbox each morning to keep you informed of the biggest stories in business, finance and accountancy. Don't receive the CA Today email? Get in touch with the CA Today team to sign up today.

6. Be kind to your nostrils

Different people have different philosophies regarding showering in the morning. A survey last year by MBNA Thames Clippers found that having to deal with other people’s body odour on their commutes was Londoners' second biggest commuting complaint. Some menthol ointment rubbed underneath your nose will help with that.

7. Caffeine on the go

The first sip of freshly pressed coffee in the morning is poetically divine, but not everyone has the time or patience to wait for their coffee to steep. Investing in a good travel mug can make your morning brew so much more enjoyable. The Bodum Travel Press cuts out the waiting time of a traditional French press as you can brew your coffee on the move, and its double walled and vacuum sealed design will keep your morning joe warm for hours.

8. Caffeine made to order

If you prefer your coffee made by a professional barista, then the Starbucks app is here to help. Simply download the app and you can order and pre-pay for your Java Chip Frappuccino, which will be ready for you to pick up at your choice of Starbucks. Easy.

9. More Mozart, less Metallica

Popping on your favourite album on the drive to and from work can help make the journey a little more bearable. However, if you are blasting some metal out your speakers you may find you are more likely to suffer from bouts of road rage.

A survey by Populus has found that drivers who listen to classical and pop music are less likely to be involved in acts of road rage than those who are rock and metal fans. Try creating a playlist of calming classics to help keep your anger levels at bay.

What's your best tip for surviving the commute? Let us know in the comments below.


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