Singapore has allowed 75% of the workforce to head back to the office, which means many of us now have to resume the dreaded morning and evening commutes amidst rush hour madness.
If you’re one of those who have no choice but to return to the office, take this chance to make the most of your hour in traffic and be productive instead of just mindlessly scrolling through social media sites.
Here are some useful tips to best maximise your time.
- Listen to the best podcasts on Spotify
Music makes life much more colourful but there’ll be time to listen to your favourite tunes when you’re sat at your desk. Instead, take the time to listen to some educational, informational and free podcasts on Spotify.
Catch up on the news with The Daily, listen to grisly true crime stories on My Favorite Murder, try not to laugh out loud with comedians Conan O’Brien and WTF with Marc Marom, or update your repertoire of random facts with Stuff You Should Know or Making Sense with Sam Harris.
There are also podcasts for women by women. The Michelle Obama podcast discusses relationships while the Hey, Girl podcast shares insightful conversations; you can keep yourself informed on The Motherhood Sessions, or you can get a taste of pretty much everything under the sun on Stuff Mom Never Told You.
- Read e-books
What a great time to catch up on your reading, because you’ll have a dedicated slot to fully concentrate on your novel.
Why not borrow free e-books from the National Library Board (NLB) and pore over them on the NLB app, Libby. All you need is an NLB account to be able to borrow a variety of digital books, magazines, comics and audiobooks. Returning them is easy as well because you can just do so on the app. No more late fees!
If you prefer to read your books at your own pace, there are tons of other e-book websites including Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Books and Scribd that are compatible with e-book readers like the Kindle, Nook, Kobo.
- Keep calm and meditate
Need to wind down after a stressful day off work? Take the chance to do so on your commute, where you can just zone out. Why not try some meditation apps such as Calm, Headspace, Smiling Mind and MyLife Meditation while you’re at it?
These apps take you through guided meditation sessions of a few minutes to help you focus your mind on something else, as well as breathing exercises to regulate your emotions.
Try them before and after work so that no matter what happens, you’ll be able to get a better grip on your emotions and feel better about stressful situations.
- Learn a language
Ever wanted to learn a different language but don’t want to fork out money for classes, or just can’t make the time?
Well here’s how language apps can help. Plus, since you’re stuck on your commute, there’s no better time to force yourself to keep up the daily practice.
There are a wealth of free apps available with paid options such as Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Busuu, Babbel, italki and Memrise for learning western languages.
For other Asian languages such as Japanese, try Obenkyo or Anki, and for Korean, try TenguGo Hangul or Sejong Korean.
- Watch the latest shows so you don’t binge at night
If you find yourself saying just one more episode before bedtime and suddenly it’s already 2am, you’re not alone.
Streaming sites such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime that release many episodes of a series at once make it so easy to binge watch – especially when you just want to wind down at night. But we’re only going to suffer the next day when we don’t have enough sleep.
To prevent yourself from falling into the binge watching trap, watch an episode or two during your morning and evening commute. This way, you regulate your show time and free up your nights to get some proper rest.
- Wordle games
Can’t wait till the next day to guess the next Wordle? That’s completely normal. The hit word game that sprung out of nowhere truly and quickly took over the world by storm.
For the uninitiated, Wordle is an online word game by The New York Times where you have to guess a five-letter word each day, with no clues given at the start. You just key in a five-letter word and see if the letters you used are part of the word. You get 6 chances to get the word right. It’s usually not too hard to guess the word of the day unless that day’s word happens to be some obscure one that no one knows the meaning of.
Those who find Wordle too easy can test their wits on Dordle, Quordle, Octordle and Sedecordle where you solve 2, 4, 8 or 16 words at once.
There’s even a Singlish version called Word-leh!, although it’s pretty absurd as there are so many variations in the spelling of Singlish words.
For word games that are slightly different, try other Wordle remakes such as Word Master (unlimited Wordle tries), Hello Wordl (unlimited number of tries and different letters in a word up till 11 letters) or Worldle (test your geography knowledge based on the shape of a given country).
- Plan your to-do lists ahead of work
If you’re worried about the impending work day, your morning commute can serve as valuable time to prioritise your tasks ahead.
You can plan your to-do lists in your head if you’ve got a good memory or better yet, take advantage of productivity apps to help you manage your million and one things.
Some free productivity apps include Notion, Todoist, TickTick, Any.do or Tide.
Whether it’s planning your work tasks or outside of work errands that you need to do, jotting them all on a productivity app and setting reminders can help you get on top of things so that you’re better prepared to face the day head on.
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