a productive commute

{productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs

making life impactful

My friend, Natasha, recently made a major decision for her career. She decided to take on a job that was pretty much on the other side of London {and technically not really in London}. This may not seem a big deal to most of you, but when you don’t have a car the commute from one side of the city to the other becomes quite the trek. Outside of having to wake up at ridiculous o’clock to get to work on time, she was worried about the time she would be “wasting” everyday during the commute.

Though I never had to sacrifice multiple hours for a commute, I’ve had commutes of different lengths and sometimes they are lot longer because I tend to travel outside the city or country quite regularly. Since I see commutes as blackholes of time, I decided it’s best to try to make them productive.

Recently, I’ve had quite the load on my plate. Lots of work travel coming up and before that are a series of deadlines and trying to designing a new project with Ryan who is my main man for all things web design London. And since it’s World Stationary Day tomorrow, I thought I would share some office tips on how to make your commute an efficient and productive one with Nest!

{productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs
{productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs {productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs

{productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs

what I wore

button-down JCREW jeans TOPSHOP jacket H&M shoes c/o BODEN purse c/o COACH

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listen to podcasts

One of my recently obsessions has been podcasts! I listen to anything from the news to stories and editorials. My favorite news source has been The Daily by The New York Times, which has been an incredible 20 minute analysis of the most pressing events going on in the world and at home. Along with that, I’ve been listening to This American Life that features journalistic non-fiction stories or events, Behind the Brilliance for some work inspiration and guidance and Missing Richard Simmons, which covers the disappearance of the fitness guru.

{productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs {productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs

create a to-do list/work flow

So usually my tasks have a list of to-do’s below it, so I usually create a to do list for blog related things and for any personal admin I need to take care of. I LOVE scheduling my life, if you can’t tell, and organizing my life and day gives me life quite literally! I prefer to use the apps todoist to get my shopping list and daily to-do’s in order and the coach.me app to keep up with my long term goals.


Recently, I’ve been staying up pretty late working on client projects and sorting out blog collaborations, but I hope to get back into the routine of reading again. I did pick up a few new novels recently and decided to ditch the clutch and carry a bigger bag so I can read a few pages on the way to dinner or a meeting. You can find a review of my recent reads via the literary lust posts.

{productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs
{productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs {productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs

language learning

When I was working in DC, I had to speak Arabic to a certain degree of fluency. There were new vocabulary I was introducing myself to on a weekly basis {close to 500 words a week}. My commute would be only 20 minutes on the train, but I took a bus that would take 50 minutes and spent that time learning those vocabulary words. I used traditional flashcards, but I have some former colleagues who use Duolingo today.


London has Santander bikes that you can use around the city, which I’m too afraid to use. Since I live so central, I usually just walk to meetings. Most of the time, it’s faster to walk somewhere than to take an uber, bus or the tube. And since I’m a big fan of multitasking, I usually spend this time walking to my meeting listening to podcasts or audiobooks.

{productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs {productive commute} via chevrons & éclairs

  • Laura Torninoja

    Great tips! 🙂 I commute 2 hours altogether every day, and I’ve definitely noticed how important it is to use that time wisely. After I started getting more books read and more blogposts written in those hours, it stopped feeling like wasted time. Although of course I’d still rather work a 5 minute walk from my house, but you can’t have everything! 😀 x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    • I almost feel as if a long commute is a blessing nowadays? What do you think? I am always on the go and the only time I really stop and do anything for myself is when I’m stuck on the tube without wifi haha

  • Katharine Jane Schweitzer

    I love this post! So many good ideas in it, especially carrying a bigger purse so that it can fit a book and language learning apps or practicing! I’m curious whether you have go-to music you play when you want to get pumped up while walking to an event. I usually listen to podcasts in which I learn something while I drive and then walk to my office, but some days I just need to hear some good tunes to get me in the right mood!

    • I DO have go-to music! I love listening to Odesza. It’s energetic and I love that there are no words so I can focus on revising notes before a meeting or something. Just like you, I do listen to podcasts mostly. Any music you prefer?

  • Natali

    Such a great post! I have just come across your blog and I’m absolutely loving what I have found, so refreshing!
    I have also just returned from my trip to London which is pity, would have been so great to meet you there. 🙂


    • Yay!! So glad to have you here, Natali! And DO come back! We can go for a coffee/cake and then a little insta-walk 🙂 I’ll take a proper peruse through your blog in a second!

  • Haha we have so much in common! I listen to podcasts in the morning, read a book (or newspaper) during my commute and organising my life brings me joy! I’m glad you mentioned exercise, it’s something I’ve been wanting to incorporate into my commute. Walking more everyday instead of just going to the nearest bus stop.

    Really helpful post and really pretty pictures. xx
    Coco Bella Blog

    • Girl, you are my spirit animal!! Let me know if you come across any good books or podcasts. Always looking for something. I’m actually looking for a good book because I have quite a bit of travel (with long flights) coming up. A tip I heard from someone is to get off at the station/stop before you have to and walk the rest of the way. Might try to do that today when I head out to dinner.

      • Ooh the getting off one stop before you have to is such a great idea, I’m going to try it this week!
        If you’re looking for a good book, Half Of A Yellow Sun or Americanah (read this twice), both by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are some of my faves. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) is also such a great one with an unexpected ending, I’ve read it thrice! I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and The Night of the Miraj by Zoe Ferraris are all amazing books with shocking plot twists at the end.

        I’m actually planning on doing a blog post about my favourite books soon so I’ll keep you posted 🙂

        • Adichie is literally one of my favorite authors at the moment! Read those both and actually was planning on writing something about Americanah. Trying to find a book similar to Americanah that covers the Indian culture so I can compare. The Cuckoo’s Calling has been on my list for a LONG time! I’m adding your suggestions down! Do you cover books you read on your blog at all? I subscribed to it and wondering if I can take a peruse through your digital bookshelf 🙂 x

          • Yay, you’re a fellow Adichie fan! You should try her other books then. Trust me, the Cuckoo’s Calling is so worth it.
            I do cover books and I have a books section on the blog but I don’t update it as much as I would like.
            I’ve actually got a new post up about my favourite books if you want to take a look? 🙂


          • I bought Cuckoo’s Calling for another trip I have coming up 🙂 x

  • I love that you’ve been listening to the Richard Simmons podcast. Ha! I’ve heard some buzz about it lately, so I’m curious. TAL is my ULTIMATE favorite.

  • Tiffany {A Touch of Grace}

    I’m all about podcasts lately too. I love the Mind Your Business podcast. I want to find more time to read like I used to. I really miss it.

    • I subscribed to MYB after reading your blog post! Looking forward to listening to it this afternoon… when I iron all my clothes 🙁

  • Sarah

    I really enjoyed this post, Supal! Podcasts are something I’ve been listening for a long time, but only recently started to take advantage of the learning opportunity from them! Seems like lots of bloggers are starting their own, no?

    • YES they are! I don’t really listen those podcasts, but one I have been loving is Hashtag Authentic. It has to do with Instagram strategy and interviews key players using the platform 🙂

  • My commute is the exercise one. I usually choose a bike or a longboard – I can ride along the river all way, which is great and helps me clean my thoughts before stepping into the office.
    For travelling though, I always choose podcasts. Just a couple of weeks ago I spent total 16 hours on bus/train/bus and managed to catch up with quite a few podcasts on my to-listen list which made me feel super productive even though I actually didn’t do anything special 🙂

    • LONGBOARD?! Like the surfing term? THAT IS SO AMAZING! I wish I did that to class when I was at St. Andrews haha. I bet that is incredibly therapeutic!

      • Haha! Longboard is just like a bigger skateboard, designed for a comfortable commute not crazy Tony Hawk tricks.

        • HAHA! Okay, I was definitely picturing you going down handrails and across benches. You need to post a Insta-story of your long boarding commute!

  • I despise commuting. So. Much. So, I made it my personal mission to make the most of travel time as well. I also listen to podcasts and audio language lessons. Or sneakily munch on raw veggies (its one way of forcing in my intake!). Or make calls or voice diaries. And at one point, I even tried exercises that one can do while driving (yes, they exist!). Ah, the things we do.

    • Oh my goodness, the raw veggies munching thing is such a good idea. I will be addressing this on the blog later, but I tend to not/forget to eat when I’m consumed with work or stressed. Was going to share some ideas and definitely sharing THIS idea. PS – how is everything going? Do send me an update!

  • Great post! My commute round trip is around 3 hours. I have used the time to work on blog posts, read or catch up on my instagram feed. Some days I also plan out my week and plan things =o)


    • It’s so good that you to work on the blog! My friend, Natasha, basically started her blog out of that commute. Very productive! I LOVE planning my life out haha

  • Isabel Robertson

    Such a beautiful post! I love your style!

    Bella x