Dumitriu Robert


How To Optimize Your Commute For Productivity

This is how my commute looks like today. I will split this into multiple categories. You can play around with those. I’m always shifting and spinning plates, always adapting. And you should do too! Here we go!

Pre-arrival office work

  • E-mail skimming and prioritizing
  • Meetings check-up and preparation. You can either do that in your head or by checking your notes.
  • Code/documents/presentations review
  • The commute is the best time to update yourself on current affairs related to your profession. There are specified sites that provide information related to a specific industry like inshorts. Another form of being updated is checking the emails in your inbox before you step into your workplace.


  • Have a list of articles ready to read. Use a tool like Pocket to bookmark and save interesting articles from Medium or elsewhere. This way, you’ll avoid mindless scrolling and can fully take advantage of your reading time.
  • Download Kindle App and populate it with a lot of books, or just bring with you physical books. I prefer the app because it can stores many books and I have this habit of reading 2–5 books simultaneously.
  • Listen to news, audiobooks or podcasts. This is a better use of commute time. You can also listen while you’re buying groceries, running errands, cleaning or waiting in line. The libraries in my pocket include Audible, OverDrive, Downpour, Scribd and Hoopla Digital, Librivox.
  • Have a set of relevant podcasts ready. Don’t just randomly listen to podcasts on your commute. Instead, select them in advance and download them. This way, you can be sure you will make the most out of your listening time and avoid connection problems in the train.

Personal productivity

  • Organizing notes you have on your phone
  • Organize/Delete/Scramble apps you haven’t used in a while
  • Ask/answer questions on Quora
  • Learn/experiment with a language

Mental decompression

  • Music listening
  • Letting your mind wonder
  • Meditation
  • Micro-nap
  • Staring into the abyss


And even if you are stuck in traffic/commute, there are a number of exercises that you can do in that window.

  • Neck exercise – rotate your neck gently clockwise and counterclockwise a few times. Then push back onto the head rest, hold for a few seconds, and repeat again a couple times.
  • Abdominal/Breathing exercises – take a deep breath. Then contract the stomach slowly and exhale. Hold the pose for a few seconds while taking light breathes. Then repeat.
  • Butt exercise – sit up straight and clench your butt muscles. Lift up from your seat for an inch or two centimeters in the clenching form, hold for a few seconds, relax, and then repeat the movement.

1-minute tasks

Have a running mental task list of what I call ‘1-min tasks’. Some examples below:

  • Make that quick phone call to reserve a table
  • Quickly cancel a subscription
  • Unsubscribe from a few useless newsletters
  • Reply to messages. If you are the kind of person who waits for a pile of messages to form and then respond in batches to save time.


  • Solve some puzzles such as Sudoku or the Rubik Cube, puzzles help you to sharp your brain muscle
  • If you’re on train, bring with you a little notebook to write. I just love the feeling of writing while being in motion, watching things passing through windows
  • Just think and observe your own thinking pattern, this can be very interesting. By listening to your own thoughts and emotions, you get to know a lot about yourself. The more you pay attention, the better you understand how your mind works, the more likely you’re able to break the patter and be more creative

That’s it. Godspeed to you!


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