Welcome to Digital Homesteading.
This collection of resources from 9 Clouds helps you build your business and community.
There are many ways and places to work, as we’ve written before on this blog. While working from home is a popular option at 9 Clouds, we still maintain an office in Sioux Falls, SD. After all, working together in close proximity builds camaraderie and is great for synergy (and all those other buzzwords.)
To get to the office, some of us can bike to work, which is a great way to combine commuting with exercise. A few of us can even walk. But for those of us not located in Sioux Falls, like Scott Meyer in Minnesota or me an hour north in Brookings, getting there can be inconvenient and time-consuming.
I’m fortunate that I only have to commute two or three days a week, but that time still ads up to more than 200 hours a year. That’s 8-10 days I spend on the road rather than with my family or working on hobbies or maintenance.
Your Commute Is What You Make of It
You can’t get your commute time back, but with a little planning, you can at least make good use of it. Whether you’re taking public transportation or driving yourself, here are some ideas for how to get the most back from your commuting time.
The Best Commute: Take a Train or Bus
My favorite story about someone making the best of a long commute is the conception story of one of my most-used web services, NewsBlur:
“During the summer of 2009, Samuel Clay wanted a better way to read the news. So he built the first version of NewsBlur almost entirely underground on the A train in New York City.”
If public transportation is an option for you, take it! This is time that is set aside, blocked out, and all yours. Even if you’re not up to founding the next great startup, there are many other ways to use the time.
Here are some ideas to make your commute time valuable:
- Take online classes, and do your homework on the ride.
- Learn a second language.
- Catch up on your reading.
- Write a novel (or a short story, play, or poem).
- Get caught up on the emails you haven’t been sending.
No Public Transit? Carpooling Is the Next Best Thing
If you can find a coworker to carpool with, you’ll still be able to do everything a public transit commuter can do on the days you don’t drive. This also cuts down on your fuel costs and emissions, compared to driving yourself.
Carpooling requires access to someone with a similar route and schedule, so it may not be an option for you. If your only choice is to drive yourself, your options are a bit more limited, but don’t lose heart — you can still use the time for more than just driving.
Last Resort: Make the Best of Your Drive
At its most basic, your drive can be a good time to prepare for the day before work and decompress from the day after it. Relax, and treat it as a time of partial meditation. Not loving the isolation? Your commute can be a great time to catch up with friends and family on the phone, if your schedules line up.
While you’re driving, you also have access to a limitless wealth of audio options. From education to entertainment, the best way to take advantage of your time in the car is to listen. Audiobooks are good, but they can get expensive.
Podcasts, on the other hand, are free and cover every topic you can imagine. From digital marketing to replaying old-time radio, from comedy to in-depth financial analysis — no matter who you are, or what your current mood or interests are, you can find podcasts to fill your commuting time.
Here are some podcast recommendations from the 9 Clouds team. Fire up your favorite podcast player (mine is the lovely Pocket Casts), and listen to these 9 Clouds favorites.
Find What Inspires You
No matter where you’re going or how you get there, we’d love to know what you’re listening to. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook, and let us know what gets you through the drive and inspires you to do great work.