I have to admit, although I’m approaching 2.5 years in my professional adult life, sometimes I feel like I’m right back at Day 1. I’m still learning to balance my social calendar and workouts with my work schedule. Instead of spending Sundays socializing, I’m often meal prepping and planning my outfits and workouts for the week. Mapping out my weeks has been a central component in keeping me on track.

I may not know a lot about adulting, but I know enough to make sure that I don’t get in over my head on a regular basis. One commitment that I made to myself early on was not to have a long commute to work. Given that I will likely be working upwards of 35-40 more years at this point, I have zero desire to spend nearly a third of my waking hours on public transportation. While I certainly do make use of my time during my commute, I’m eternally grateful that it is a short one. With a shorter commute, I am able sleep later in the morning and make it to the gym before work. Below are five things that I do during my morning commute to make the most efficient use of my time.

1. Briefly read the news

I like to read the news in the morning before I begin my day. Otherwise, I’ll look up at 6pm and realize I don’t know what’s going on in the world. I prefer to keep my news updates short and sweet—enough to know what’s going on in the world without thinking the world is going to end within the next five minutes. My favorite source is TheSkimm.

2. Increase your vocabulary

Gone are the days of high school where I panicked over SAT words and weekly vocabulary tests. I no longer ride the school bus in anxiety wondering if I can use this week’s words in a sentence. That being said, I love learning new words. I get the word of the day emailed to me from Merriam-Webster.

3. Learn a new language

Aside from social media apps, Duolingo is my next favorite! It truly makes learning fun. I studied French from middle school through college, and I try to keep up with daily lessons to maintain my language skills. Most of the lessons are pretty short—less than 5 minutes—making it perfect for a quick commute.

4. Meditate

While I refuse to close my eyes on New York public transporation (MTA isn’t that good), I have seen others engage in mediation exercises on the train. Since I am unable to completely tune out—nor would I recommend it—I will practice simple breathing exercises.

5. Make a shopping list or to-do list

This may seem trivial, but making shopping lists and to-do lists takes up a lot of time! I write almost everything down so that I don’t forget anything. Even though I have my groceries delivered, I still make a traditional shopping list to speed up my time once I’m ordering on a website. Since I typically prepare one new recipe each week, I spend a minimum of 15-20 minutes searching for recipes before compiling a list of ingredients that I need. In addition, I kick off each weekend with a to-do list. Even if my only weekend goal is to brunch and go for a run, I’ll include it on my list. Scheduling play is just as important as scheduling work!

What do you do during your commute to and from work?

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