Most of us have a morning routine that we stick to pretty stringently each workday. But what about the commuting routine? I worked for Sears Holdings Corp. as a Social Media Manager for about a year, and let me tell you that commute demanded more of a routine than any pre-work routine could muster! I live in downtown Chicago. Sears is headquartered in Hoffman Estates – without traffic that is about a 90 minute commute each way. Luckily there was a public transit option available when traffic was enough to turn me into the biggest road rage warrior on I-90. That constituted a bus to the El and then to another bus. Total commute time – about the same and some times longer depending on rush hour madness.
Many of us go through long commutes like this every day because the job – at the end of the day – is worth it. So what do we do with this lost time being in transit? We supplement.
This is when I became addicted to podcasts. Tech News Today and The Tobolowsky Files became my mantra right after my 5 AM alarm buzz. I found myself taking public transit more than driving because I was not only able to get work done due to my handy dandy mobile hotspot, but I also could catch up on reading, or better yet, listening to my latest book via the Audible mobile app while reading through Twitter and headlines through my New York Times iPad app. I honestly believe my technology obsession grew from my commute during my days working at Sears. This was not necessarily a bad thing – but I do often wonder if I would be where I am today without those commutes.
Here was the line-up.
5 AM – Wake up
- Routine: NPR
6:08 AM – Catch the Lawrence bus to go to the Forest Park Blue Line stop
- Routine: Listen to the The Toblowsky Files podcast
7:00 AM – Board the Blue Line train heading West towards O’Hare
- Routine: Finish The Tobolowsky Files podcast
7:20 AM – Catch the Sears Campus Pace Bus
- Routine: Listen to Tech News Today and read Twitter and the New York Times iPad App
8:15 AM – Walk from the bus into Sears and up to C building’s 2nd floor where my desk was waiting for me to start the day
- Routine: Listen to upbeat “get-me-ready-for-the-work-day” music
Going home was altogether a different routine consisting of listening to my latest audio book during the first bus and then the train. During the final bus route though, I usually listened to more melodic music (Cloud Cult was one of my favorites at the time) to wind down from the day.I never really thought of my routine during my work at Sears until I was inspired by a New York Times article I read yesterday on reading books versus listening to them. The article was about the debate between the two forms of reading. While reading the article, I found myself getting defensive on behalf of book listeners. Those book listens during my commute literally saved my sanity during those endless commutes (plus I got more reading done than I have done in a very long time). I also am by nature a very fast reader. Listening to books allowed me to not miss details I may have by skimming through passages. And at the end of the day, it was nice listening to the voice of a human being versus the drone of traffic outside the window.
I still adore picking up a real book. However that’s now in my favorite reading chair at home during the non-working hours.
What is your commuting routine like? What tips would you share on being productive and staying sane during these back and forth ventures? Share in the comments below!