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Commuting to work can be a real waste of time…if you just commute and do nothing else. While some employers have women up to the fact that you can get a lot more out of employees by letting them work more efficiently (from home, for example), others haven’t.

And even if you do work from home, there are still days when you have to commute to your workplace, a client’s site, a conference, training, or anything else.

Here are some tips to help you make your commute more productive:

Make a plan
Think about what in the commute is taking your time, money and energy and do something about it.

Commuting is expensive and might even be a major expense in your budget. This expense might lead to energy-sapping stress as you worry about how much money you’re spending wasting on travel. What are the alternatives? Can you ask your boss if you can work more flexibly? Would he or she consider you working remotely for part of the week? Can you car share with a colleague who lives nearby? These are questions that you need to ask yourself, and then do something about.

Assess your needs regularly
Have you gotten into a rut that no longer works for you. The greatest assessment is around the job itself. Are you happy with your work? Do you even enjoy working for your employer? Should you be thinking of moving on to another company or type of position that is nearer or one which offers more flexibility?

3. Be prepared
Us ladies like to swap handbags…a lot…and sometimes, that’s half the problem. You could save yourself a lot time and stress in the mornings by packing everything into your bag the night before, ready for you to walk out the door without searching for car keys, airline tickets, money…

Have you signed the kids’ school diary? Have you signed the trip letter they’ve been nagging you about all week and put the money in an envelope, ready for them to take to school in the morning – or have you procrastinated (again) and left it till the morning?

Getting older children into the habit of preparing for themselves will lessen your time screaming for them to hurry up in the morning, and you’ll all get off to a peaceful start to the day.

Look after your body
Long distance commuting takes its toll on the body just as it does on your bank balance, the car and your time. Taking an hour at the end of the day to stretch, do light exercise and defuse by using calming techniques, meditation and relaxation will help you to regenerate your energy. This is a good way to keep stress at bay.

Make healthy choices about what you do during the day
Packed lunches are cheaper and also puts you in control of what you eat and, especially, portion sizes.

On your commute, add an extra five minutes or so, you can walk up the stairs or walk to the next bus stop. The payoff for these small choices will show in your stress levels, you feeling more energised, toning up and even saving money.

Use tools to make you more efficient
Scheduling is one that could be used more effectively. Schedule in work you can do during your commute (especially if it’s a long one). You’d be amazed at how many emails you can send off when you don’t have constant interruptions from colleagues. Don’t forget to do a little of what you enjoy, too, like reading, relaxing to so,e music, catching up on Facebook etc.

If you pick up your children and continue your commute, you can read with younger children, talk about the day with older children or just have some much-needed family banter!

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