How many hours do you spend behind the wheel each week? Each month?
You probably don’t know the answer, and if you did, you wouldn’t be proud to share it. The fact is, Americans waste a lot of time in traffic, mostly in single-occupancy vehicles. We’re a nation of road warriors, and the road often isn’t too lively.
On the bright side, the advent of hands-free calling and talk-to-text has revolutionized drive time. No longer is your daily commute a dead zone, fit only for half-listening to inane talk radio babble or reliving the greatest musical hits of your teenage years.
Not sure how to make your commute more productive? Try these six tips, for starters.
1. Catch Up on Voicemail
You know you have them. And you have to listen to all of those messages sooner or later. Might as well happen while you’ve got nothing much better to do. Use a voice-controlled assistant (whatever comes standard on your phone) to avoid violating local hands-free laws.
2. Charge Your Phone (Or Keep It Juiced Up)
This is one productivity booster that definitely doesn’t require your undivided attention — nor your phone’s, for that matter. Use this Ideaing roundup of the best wireless phone-charging car mounts for inspiration.
3. Dictate Emails and Drafts
Use your favorite voice dictation program to compose emails and memos without lifting a finger. Because no dictation software is perfect (yet), you should check for accuracy after arriving at your destination and edit accordingly. But getting the initial drafting out of the way while you’re in the car is sure to be a huge time-saver regardless.
4. Practice Your Presentations
Rehearse where no one can hear you make a mistake. Record each run-through for good measure, and if you’re stopped safely, take a glimpse of your delivery in the rearview mirror. By the time you’re at the office, you’ll be ready to take the meeting by storm.
5. Schedule Standing Call-in Meetings With Staff and Clients
What better time to hold those pesky standing meetings with staff or check in with clients than when you’re on the road? It’s a win-win situation — you knock out some of the work that monopolizes your time every day, and your interlocutors get a break from visiting you in person.
6. Catch Up on Your “Reading”
No urgent work-related matters to attend to on the road? Great — catch up on your “reading” with an audiobook. The great ones always crow about inspiration striking behind the wheel; maybe they’re onto something.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Making the most of your time behind the wheel is crucial in a world where every second matters.
But it’s even more crucial not to deprive yourself of those seconds by taking needless risks on the road. Faced with the choice between arriving alive and becoming the lead story on the local news, you have a solemn obligation to choose the former.
If your car isn’t set up to allow you to safely communicate with the outside world, your first order of business is getting that done. That call, that text, that email can wait.