These fun suggestions will help you (safely) multitask during your commute.
Are you stuck behind the wheel as you make the trek to and from your school site? Don’t get the commuter blues. Instead, put these tricks to use, and you may find yourself feeling more invigorated and productive when you step out of the driver’s seat.
1. Listen to a podcast
There are so many great podcasts for educators — from those that keep you on top of industry trends to ones that make you belly-laugh. Download the segments before you leave the house while you’re on Wi-Fi so you don’t have to use data while you drive.
Here are four to get you started:
- 3 Ps in a Pod: The official podcast of the Arizona K12 Center delves into the three “Ps” – practice, policy, and passion – of education, both inside the classroom and out.
- Talks with Teachers: Insightful interviews with leading bloggers, influencers, and educators who are spearheading innovative projects in their schools.
- Nerdy Cast: A light-hearted, witty take on education, technology, and pop culture.
- Teachers Aid: Guests tackle real issues in the classroom, offering practical tips in a quick-paced format, and from a variety of perspectives.
2. Record your thoughts
Keeping track of schedules, managing to-do lists, brainstorming how to approach a parent-teacher conference — it’s not a stretch to say your mind is pulled in a million directions at any given moment. Stay organized by putting those thoughts down on “paper.” By that, we mean take advantage of Siri, Alexa, Google Voice, or a similar app to map out the day’s strategy or task list, dictate emails, even write a blog post.
3. Refuel and rehydrate
When you’re in the middle of the school day, you don’t always have time to hydrate properly or eat right. Sometimes you barely have time for lunch. Use your commute to change that. Before you leave the house each morning, fill up a 16-ounce travel mug with ice water and pack healthy easy-to-eat snacks, such as grapes, nuts, or protein bars. Then, take advantage of car time to recharge your body before — and after — a long day in the classroom.
4. Dive into an audio book.
Most audio books run eight to 16 hours, which means you can easily finish one within a few weeks of commuting. Listen to a book that’s industry-related, or choose one that’s purely for pleasure. When you join Audible.com, you get access to two free audiobooks, but if you’d rather not pay a monthly subscription ($15), borrow audiobooks — for free! — from your local library. Start by downloading the app OverDrive, then simply type in your library card number and get access to thousands of books. For shorter commutes (20 minutes or so), check out Blinkist. It lets you listen to the actionable takeaways from books for uber-fast learning on the go.
5. Get reflective.
Grab a pile of sticky notes and write thought-provoking topics on each one. Then, stick them to the center of your steering wheel or center console. While you drive, reflect on the word or phrase written on the note. Maybe it’s an intention for the day or the name of a student you’ve been challenged by recently. You could write down the name of someone who inspires you or a favorite quote that holds significant meaning. Whatever you choose, use the drive time to set the tone for your day.
6. Learn something new.
In today’s increasingly bilingual world, learning a second language offers myriad benefits. But we don’t always have time to take a class or money to spend on a private tutor. Here’s where your daily commute comes in handy. You can find apps that offer language lessons ideal for uninterrupted drive time. We like RadioLingua’s “Coffee Break” language series, which offers lessons in Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Chinese.
7. Practice your speech.
Are you presenting at an upcoming conference or board meeting? Use the time behind the wheel to run through your speech or presentation. Use a device to record yourself practicing, then listen back to find areas for improvement.
8. Enjoy the silence.
You don’t have to be doing something all of the time; you can also take this precious time to relax. Put your phone down, turn off the radio, and shut out the mental noise of worries and stresses. Just let your mind wander. Follow your thoughts wherever they take you. Who knows? You could stumble on to a brilliant idea or find inspiration in the views outside your car window. Or you can just enjoy the silence.