Alongside the extortionate cost of having to travel between towns or across a large city, commuting provides other delights such as a lack of adequate seating on trains and buses, people talking loudly on their mobile phones about what they had for dinner last night and the sheer monotony of the journey.
Fear not however, because help is at hand.
During extensive scientific research carried out here at The W1nners’ Club, we asked the cleaning lady and the I.T. bloke to help create a list of things to do on the way in to work that will help pass the time and prepare you for the day ahead:
- Play, ‘spot the wig.’
Wigs come in many different shapes and sizes and these days they are not as noticeable as they perhaps once were. The average rush hour train carriage when full contains about 150 people, so there is ample scope for you to pass the time by trying to work out who might be wearing one. You’d be surprised how much skillful analysis is required and by extension – how quickly time passes as a result.
- Attempt to read a book upside down
It’s probably best done with a book you’ve already finished as trying to keep your hand steady in a swaying carriage can be tricky at the best of times, but reading upside down is a great way to exercise your brain first thing in the morning. Your fellow passengers will be impressed by your unique talent and by the time you get to work you will be cognitively prepared for the challenges of the day ahead. It’s a bit like warming up for a football match only stretching the mind muscles instead of the ones in your legs.
- Try not to think about anything
Have you ever tried it? If you have, you’ll know that thinking about nothing requires infinitely more mental discipline and concentration than performing the trickiest of calculations. Our brains are always at work to some degree, so attempting to clear your mind of everything demands a huge degree of concentration. You’ll have to shut out all external stimuli including the knowledge of just how packed your train carriage is this morning and importantly, just how uncomfortable the journey is.
- Memorise the order of articles in the morning paper
What better way is there to get your neurons firing for the day ahead than by memorising the order articles appear in the morning paper. Knowing that the Chancellor’s new tax proposals appear before the story about the priest that was caught in a brothel will give you a firm grasp of current affairs, thus enabling you to appear knowledgeable and worldly when you join your colleagues for a mid-morning cigarette break.
- Avoid playing Candy Crush
Everybody knows that Candy Crush was invented by an alien species to weaken the minds of humans before the commencement of the War of the Worlds. No matter how boring your train journey is, there’s never any excuse for destroying your brain cells by swiping brightly coloured shapes around a mobile phone touch screen.
- Have a clear out of your social media friends list
It’s common knowledge that most of the people you are, ‘friends,’ with on social media wouldn’t spare their pee to put out the flames if you were on fire. Ask yourself honestly just how many of the people that you regularly share cute kitten pictures with every day would be genuinely pleased to know what you are having for dinner or whether you’re, ‘Absolutely knackered – quick pint at the pub then straight home #workinghard.’ A friend is someone you have an ongoing meaningful relationship with, so the dead time spent on the daily commute can be used to trim your list into a more accurate reflection of the above.
- Delete a few emails
Your daily commute into work amounts to a significant amount of time that isn’t used productively. Why not use this period to delete all those unwanted spam emails that promise you part of some deposed ex-government minister for oil’s $10 million fortune? We all get bombarded with them every day but rarely have the time to properly clear out our inboxes………except we do – don’t we?
- Have a good kip
If you’re not a morning person and leaving the house at 07:30 am feels like the end of the world, then why not simply sleep on the train or bus on the way in? This will give you the lie-in you’ve been denied by the alarm clock and by the time you get to work you’ll be just as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as everyone else in the office.
- Eat your breakfast
In the time poor commuter universe, there are precious few moments to sit around doing anything – let alone enough to eat your breakfast. Rather than eating at home or waiting until you get a free minute at work therefore, why not simply eat your breakfast on the journey in and make use of the time? All we ask is that you try to be sensitive to the plight of other passengers in terms of what you eat and avoid munching loudly on last night’s curry left overs or a still sizzling bacon sandwich.
- Phone a friend or family member
You might end up being the person that everyone hates on the daily commute. The person whose life story becomes a public service announcement between Clapham Junction and Waterloo. The commute does however provide the perfect opportunity for you to make a call and have a good gossip with your nearest and dearest (“………she didn’t – you’re joking! But I thought he was married! etc.).